Jamaican Sandra Lindsay, who made history on December 14, 2020, when she was officially cited as the first person in the United States to receive a COVID-19 shot, received her PhD in Health Sciences at the A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Mesa, Arizona. Additionally, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in the United States has solidified Sandra Lindsay’s place in history by obtaining the empty Pfizer-BioNtech vial that had contained the COVID-19 vaccine from which she received the first dose administered to anyone in the US.
Sandra Lindsay was born in Clarendon and works as a critical care nurse, and her brother Garfield, who is a respiratory therapist in Maryland, also received his PhD in Health Sciences as the siblings graduated together. The duo waved the Jamaican flag with pride as they celebrated their accomplishments.
Sandra Lindsay holds a master’s degree in nursing and an MBA. She decided to pursue the doctorate in Health Sciences with a major in global health, leadership, and organizational behavior so that she could focus on finding solutions to some of “the bigger, systemic issues that make black and Latino people more susceptible to chronic health conditions,” she said.
Talk show host Deiwght Peters conducted the first exclusive interview with the Lindsay’s on the season finale of his show “Rolling with Deiwght Peters (RWTP).” In the interview, they emphasized how close they were growing up. They were raised by their paternal grandmother, a teacher, in Palmer’s Cross, Clarendon, and she inspired their love of learning. Sandra told Peters that “education is in our DNA” and that when she completed her MBA, which was very difficult, she swore she would never pursue a further degree, but then she felt that she wasn’t finished and that “there was something more to do” so she enrolled in the Health Sciences doctoral program. Her choice of global health was inspired by her desire to “give back to Jamaica” in some way. She also said she had a passion for leadership and believes that the major in leadership and organizational behavior was a good fit with her goal of achieving global health and well-being.
Garfield Lindsay noted that they have been traveling together and “dreaming together” for years, so it was exciting that they were able to graduate together. Sandra began the PhD program first, and Garfield followed. He was finishing his MBA when she began the PhD, but joined her when his MBA was completed. Sandra believes they use each other as role models. While they couldn’t walk across the stage to receive their diplomas together due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was still very special.
When asked what he learned from this experience, Garfield told Peters that he wanted people to understand that it is never too late to “chase your dream.” He and Sandra had been thinking about this for some time as they worked their way through school, and he wanted people to know that even though it might take longer than others to fulfill a personal dream, “it’s your dream so you go for it and do the best you can.”