The Queens nurse who bravely rolled up her sleeve for the nation’s first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine shot was honored on Friday by President Biden — and will have her scrubs sent to the Smithsonian.
Biden presented Sandra Lindsay, an immigrant from Jamaica, with a framed “Outstanding American By Choice” award from US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Lindsay worse a vibrant pink suit to the White House East Room as Biden announced that her hospital scrubs and COVID-19 vaccination card will go on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.
“Sandra immigrated to Queens, New York, from Jamaica when she was 18 years old. Over the past, and I don’t believe this, 30 years — she doesn’t look 30 years old — she’s pursued her dream of becoming a nurse to allow her to do what she wanted to do the most: give back to her new country,” Biden said.
President Joe Biden honors Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse who was the first person in the US to get the COVID-19 vaccine.REUTERS
Lindsay, director of nursing for critical care at Northwell Health in Queens, stoically received her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 14 — putting a face on the early wave of vaccine distribution in the US. She received her second dose on Jan. 4.
“I feel like I’ve completed kind of the marathon, I’ve closed the loop. I know we’re not out of the woods yet, we don’t have that herd immunity yet, but the burden feels definitely much lighter today,” she said after being fully vaccinated.
As of Friday, 66.8 percent of US adults have had at least one vaccine shot, according to CDC data.
Biden honored Lindsay as he presided over a ceremony granting citizenship to a diverse group of immigrants to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
“She earned a bachelor’s degree. Then a master’s degree. Then a doctorate degree. And her citizenship. And now she’s director of nursing for critical care at a hospital on Long Island,” Biden said.
Sandra Lindsay moved to the US from Jamaica, became an American citizen and currently serves as director of nursing for critical care at Northwell Health in QueensREUTERS
“During the height of the pandemic, she poured her heart and soul into her work to help patients fight for their lives and to keep her fellow nurses safe.”
Biden noted that in addition to caring for patients, Lindsay suffered the loss of family members.
“With a grandson at home, prematurely, she did what she had to do. She kept her distance and kept him safe. He is safe. But she lost an aunt and uncle to the virus,” Biden said.
“But in her pain, she didn’t lose hope. When the time came, she was the first person in America to get fully vaccinated outside of clinical trials. She can now hug her grandson. She’s out there making sure her patients and folks in her community are getting vaccinated so they can get back to their lives and their loved ones.”
The president repeated his often-told flattery for nurses, saying, “Sandra, if there are any angels in heaven as I told you, having spent a lot of time in the ICU, they are all nurses, male and female. Doctors let you live, nurses make you want to live.”
Biden said that Lindsay’s COVID-19 vaccination card, hospital scrubs and the badge she wore on Dec. 14 “will be included in the Smithsonian’s National Museum American history exhibit on COVID-19.” The DC museum is currently open to visitors if they book a free timed-entry appointment.