Nurse receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

Sandra Lindsay was first person in U.S. to get the coronavirus vaccination

Nurse, first COVID-19 shot recipient, becomes vaccine activist.Northwell Health said it asked for volunteers to get the shots, and that New York nurse Sandra Lindsay “happened to go first” among those who raised their hands. .The moment was aired on TV.She became widely regarded as the first American to get the shot outside of a clinical trial.For her efforts, she has been awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom

On Dec. 14, 2020, Sandra Lindsay became more than just the first person to receive the coronavirus vaccine; she became an advocate for health equity and a role model for others.

For leading the charge to get Americans vaccinated, the ICU nurse just received the nation’s highest civilian honor —the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“I felt empowered when I said yes to the COVID-19 vaccine,” Lindsay wrote in an essay for Time magazine. “It was more than a dose of antibodies. It represented a hopeful, new beginning. That moment has been a gift, an opportunity to grow and expand my professional purpose. I certainly didn’t predict receiving a Presidential Medal of Freedom. But In some ways, it was less of a choice than it was a seamless transition. Maybe my having said, ‘Yes,’ will inspire others to do the same.”

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be here,” Lindsay said in a video from the White House shortly after receiving the award. Lindsay said she shares the award with her “immediate family, my Northwell Health family, nurses and health care workers here in the United States and all around the world.”

According to, Lindsay at first ignored the calls from the White House, believing them to be spam.

When she finally took the call, “I was just overwhelmed with pride, joy, gratitude and just immediately thought about what that meant for others, for people who look like me — for young ladies, for black women, for immigrants, for Jamaicans, for Americans, nurses, health care workers, minorities,” she told Good Morning America.

Lindsay is a nurse executive with 26 years of critical care experience, so volunteering to be first vaccine recipient, to her, was a no-brainer.

“I was always ready to say yes to the COVID-19 vaccine,” she wrote for Time. “I’d been following its development from the very beginning of the pandemic and said, again and again, that I’d happily get vaccinated.

“Working in critical care during the first deadly wave of the virus, my team and I had yearned for any relief from the frustration and sorrow we felt,” she added. “We lived in the constant presence of death and loss, treating patients without treatment options while living in fear of contracting the virus ourselves.”

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