Port Library Interviews First Vaccine Recipient

Sandra Lindsay, nurse and Port Washington resident recieved the COVID vaccine. (photo courtesy of Northwell Health)

The History Center at the Port Washington Public Library (PWPL) has been conducting a COVID-19 memory project to help document the pandemic for future generations. As part of their project, the library interviewed Sandra Lindsay, a Port Washington resident and the first person in the United States to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Lindsay is the Director of Patient Care Service, Critical Care Division at LIJ Medical Center and has lived in Port Washington for five years. During the 16-minute interview conducted by Vanessa Nastro, Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, Port Washington Public Library Local History Center, Lindsay gave a detailed account as to how the pandemic has affected healthcare workers.

“Having to be the family at the bedside who holds the patients hands, while going through this terrible ordeal it too has taken a toll on [healthcare workers] mentally and physically,” Lindsay said.

At the start of the pandemic, Lindsay feared that due to her close contact to sick patients, she would become ill with the virus and suffer alone in her home. She made a pact with another nurse that they would care for each other in the event that one of them became ill. During those long hard months, she often hoped that a vaccine would come along to help get the virus under control.

On the evening of Dec. 13, Lindsay’s chief officer called her and asked if she was interested in receiving the vaccine the next day. Lindsay had been an advocate of vaccinations and never had any doubts about the safety of the vaccine.

“I said without any hesitation absolutely,” Lindsay said. “I see this as a way forward. I saw that wearing our masks, social distancing and good hand hygiene those are particular preventative measures and it will help the spread but it will not give us the impact that we need right now in this global crisis.”

As a nurse on the frontlines, Lindsay also felt it was important to address some of the concerns she has been seeing on the internet regarding the vaccine. She called out some of the people who are concerned that the vaccine was produced too quickly, but stated that we should listen to modern technology and science.

“Vaccines traditionally take years to be developed with science and technology but I think we ought to be grateful that it came through for us this time,” Lindsay said. “This is part of living in a modern world.”

Lindsay hopes in the coming months that the Port Washington community will listen to reliable sources and really come together to do their part in making a difference.

“Data is powerful— it tells the story,” Lindsay said. “We are not out of the woods yet. We still need to follow the guidance of the experts. I’m hopeful that the Port Washington community will do their part in making a difference and that means getting vaccinated. If you’re still on the fence—get information, be informed, ask the right questions, be curious. It’s fine to be curious and ask questions. We understand that getting vaccinated is a personal choice. There are people who are hesitant because of history and that should not be dismissed because it’s relevant.”

The PWPL History Center has been documenting historical artifacts and asking people to contribute their recollections of how they are getting through the pandemic.

The project is open to Port Washington residents, as well as those from other areas on Long Island. Interested residents are able to submit photographs, videos, writings, audio recordings, art, stories and more showing how the ongoing pandemic has impacted their lives.

Those that have questions about the project or how to submit materials can contact the Local History Department at localhistory@pwpl.org. Lindsay’s full interview can be viewed on the Port Washington Public Library’s Youtube Channel or by visiting www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADgCO8GRSls.


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