Jamaican American nurse Sandra Lindsay, DHSc, RN, who was the first person in the United States to be vaccinated against COVID-19, was recognized with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Outstanding Americans by Choice award at a special naturalization ceremony held at the White House in Washington DC. The Outstanding Americans by Choice program is presented to naturalized US citizens who have outstanding achievements and who have shown their commitment to the US via participation in civic matters, professional achievement, and responsible citizenship.
US President Joe Biden honored Lindsay with the Outstanding Americans by Choice recognition, saying that at “the height of the pandemic, Sandra poured her heart and soul, working with patients and keeping her fellow nurses safe.” He went on to say that when the time came, Lindsay became the first person in the US to get fully vaccinated outside of the trial programs.
Sandra Lindsay is an intensive care nurse who secured her place in history on December 14, 2020, when she received the first Pfizer vaccine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York. Since receiving her shot, she has been a strong advocate on the necessity of vaccinations, working to convince individuals who are hesitant to take the vaccine and help to end the pandemic.
Lindsay immigrated to the US from Jamaica at the age of 18. She worked babysitting jobs and was employed at a local grocery store, taking college classes to earn her first nursing degree in 1994 from the Borough of Manhattan Community College. She became a naturalized citizen in 1997. Lindsay came to the US for the opportunities it provided “not only for myself but to be able to help others,” she said. As the director of patient care services for critical care at Northwell Health, Lindsay said she does everything she can to care for the sickest patients and to “lead by example.”
In her position as a critical care nurse, Lindsay was responsible for heading a team of nurses in some of the sickest COVID-19 wards at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center Northwell Health, which is the largest health care provided in New York and one of the first epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, Lindsay came to the US to make a difference and that is what she did by courageously deciding to take the first COVID-19 vaccine to lead the nation out of the pandemic. Dowling called Lindsay “the epitome of the power” that immigrants have in contributing to the history of the US. He said the entire Northwell Health family was proud to support Lindsay’s efforts.
Commenting on receiving honors from President Biden at the White House 24 years after becoming a US citizen, Lindsay said she never imagined that she would attain the position she has today, adding that it was “truly a privilege to be part of this great nation” and that she intended to continue leading and helping those in need.
Photo Source: Whitehouse Youtube