Moments after becoming the first New Yorker to receive the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine in front of a national audience just before 9:30 a.m. Monday morning, Queens health care worker Sandra Lindsay said she felt good — and hopeful for the future.
The vaccine, described by Governor Andrew Cuomo as “the weapon that will end the war” against COVID-19, is finally making the rounds through the health care and nursing home communities. The rest of us should be able to get it in a few months, and the end of this nightmare pandemic will not be far behind.
But doubt over the vaccine, and the science involved, remains among too many Americans — and Lindsey used her opportunity to speak to the city, state and country to deliver a simple yet powerful message in her post-vaccination remarks.
“I believe in science. As a nurse, my practice is guided by science and so I trust that,” Lindsay said. “What I don’t trust is that, if I contract COVID, I don’t know how it would impact [me] or those who I come in contact with, so I encourage everyone to take the vaccine.”
For months during this pandemic, Lindsey — as an intensive care nurse at Northwell Health — experienced the horrors of COVID-19 firsthand, with patient after patient arriving in the ward, desperate for breath and life.
All the while, she and her colleagues provide the best care they could, with the best knowledge available — while putting themselves at the risk of COVID-19 infection themselves. They’ve seen recoveries; they’ve seen tragic losses.
Yet they persist and keep fighting the fight few of us would dare to encounter — their actions not unlike a cop running toward an armed gunman, or a firefighter racing toward a burning building.
We owe it to the health care professionals on the front lines, as much as we owe it to ourselves and the people we care about, to do as Lindsay said: to “believe in science” and get the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s finally available.
We cannot listen to the untruths of anti-vaxxers. We cannot fear the unknown regarding possible side effects of the vaccine, none of which have been proven serious or long-lasting to this point.
Let’s put an end to the massive death and pain of COVID-19. Let’s protect ourselves, our loved ones, our health care heroes.
Let’s believe in science.