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Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from Michelle Chester, Northwell’s director of employee health services on Dec. 14. (Mark Lennihan/Pool via Reuters)

Covid-19 vaccinations have officially begun in New York.

An employee at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center gave Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to the first New Yorkers to receive the vaccine this morning. Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at the New Hyde Park hospital, was the first person to get the vaccine. 

“I feel hopeful today,” Lindsay said. “Relieved.”

Michelle Chester, Northwell’s director of employee health services, administered it in the presence of Northwell president and CEO Michael Dowling. Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined the event virtually and livestreamed it through his website and Facebook page. He said Lindsay is possibly the first in the United States to receive the vaccine.

“This is a special moment, a special day,” Dowling said. “This is what everybody’s been waiting for — to be able to give the vaccine, and hopefully this is the beginning of the end of the Covid issue.”

Chester took just one minute to prepare and administer the vaccine, which was met by applause and cheers from Cuomo and staff on-site at LIJ, including Lindsay herself.

“It didn’t feel any different from taking any other vaccine,” Lindsay said. “… We all need to do our part to put an end to the pandemic, and to not give up so soon.

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” she continued, “but we still need to continue to wear our masks, to social distance … I trust science. What I don’t trust is that if I contract Covid, how it will impact me or those who I come in contact with. So I encourage everyone to take the vaccine.”

Dr. Yves Duroseau, chair of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, was the second to receive the vaccine at LIJ, administered by Chester. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Dr. Yves Duroseau, chair of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, was the second to receive the vaccination at LIJ, which Northwell livestreamed via YouTube.

“This was the first step toward hope,” he said. “Toward getting to a place where we don’t have to worry about ourselves, about our loved ones, about our families. We’ve seen a lot of despair, and this is the most significant turn in this pandemic.”

Ninety Covid-19 vaccine distribution sites across New York began receiving a total of 170,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this weekend. The first to receive the vaccine will be nursing home staff and residents and the highest risk healthcare workers. 

Of the 170,000 vaccines, an estimated 26,500 will be administered on Long Island. More batches of vaccines are expected to arrive in the weeks to come, including the second dose for the first 170,000 vaccinated.

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus

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