The coronavirus pandemic has made 2020 one long year. Seriously, it feels like ages since media outlets first started reporting on the spread of the virus, and people in the U.S. and much of the world had no idea what impact it would have on our daily lives. Now, as we’re nearing the end of 2020—and as the COVID-19 death toll nears 300,000 in the U.S.—the first batch of vaccines were administered in the states beginning Monday. What’s more, a Black woman was the first to receive it.
The Washington Post reports that Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, became the first U.S. citizen to receive the vaccine. The event was live-streamed, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the nurse saying, “You didn’t even flinch.”
According to CNN, Lindsay said the shot she received didn’t feel any different than any other vaccine.
“I’m feeling well. I would like to thank all the frontline workers and all my colleagues [for] doing their job during this pandemic all over the world,” she said. “I feel hopeful today, relieved. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time.”
As the Post notes, New York is the state that has been hit the hardest by the pandemic, but it’s far from the only state receiving the vaccine. In fact, according to ABC News, Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company that produced the vaccine alongside German company BioNTech, shipped 2.9 million doses to 636 sites across the country one week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccine for emergency use for citizens over the age of 16.
Those sites include the University of Louisville Hospital in Kentucky, which received its first vaccine delivery at 9:30 a.m., as well as other medical locations in Connecticut, Iowa, Washington, D.C., and Michigan, according to ABC.
The Post reports that health workers also received the vaccine in Louisiana—where Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards called the medication “the beginning of the end” of the pandemic—and at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital, which received 975 doses for hospital staff.
According to ABC, each patient who receives the vaccine needs two doses for full inoculation. Pfizer said it would begin rolling out another 2.9 million doses of the vaccine shortly after the first batch is delivered.
While there is plenty of skepticism regarding the vaccine—particularly among Black and Latino communities (and who knows if that will change with the fact that a Black woman got treated first)—it’s clear that the U.S. is in desperate need of a medical solution.
The vaccine developments come as the U.S. is in the midst of the deadliest period of the pandemic, according to health data. America leads the world with over 16 million cases and close to 300,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.
The seven-day averages of new daily cases, 211,494, hospitalizations, 106,656, and deaths, 2,427, were at record highs on Dec. 13, according to health data from the COVID Tracking Project.
So here’s hoping for a better and healthier 2021.