NEW YORK, Dec. 14 (Reuters) – New York inoculated its first healthcare worker, a nurse at the Queens intensive care unit, with the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, marking a turning point in the US effort to control the virus.
Sandra Lindsay, an ICU nurse, received the vaccine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, one of the first epicenters of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, and received applause at a live broadcast with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo .
“It felt different than injecting me with another vaccine,” Lindsay said. “I am full of hope, relieved. I feel the healing coming. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful moment in our history. I want to inspire public confidence that the vaccine is safe. “
Minutes after Lindsay’s injection, President Donald Trump said in a tweet: “The first vaccine given. Congratulations USA! Congratulations WORLD! “.
The vaccine, developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, won emergency use approval on Friday from federal regulators after it was found to be 95% effective in a large clinical trial.
The first 2.9 million doses began to be delivered to distribution centers nationwide on Sunday, 11 months after the United States documented the first COVID-19 infections. As of Monday, the country had registered 16,286,343 cases and 299,489 deaths from the virus.
Hospitals in Texas, Utah and Minnesota said they also expect to receive the first doses of the vaccine Monday at some hospitals for immediate administration.
“This is the most difficult vaccine launch in history. No doubt there will be countermeasures, but we did our best … to make everything as easy as possible. Be with us, “Surgeon General Jerome Adams told Fox News on Monday.
The logistical effort for vaccination is very complicated due to the need to transport and store the vaccine at minus 70 degrees Celsius, which requires huge amounts of dry ice or specialized freezers.
Healthcare workers and nursing home residents will be the first to receive vaccines in a two-dose regimen given approximately three weeks apart.
Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Lisa Baertlein and Gabriella Borter. Edited in Spanish by Manuel Farías and Javier Leira