By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Tuesday marks one year since the first person received the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.

That person was Dr. Sandra Lindsay, the Director of Nursing Critical Care at Northwell’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

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“I’ve just been so grateful for that day and everything that has happened after that day,” Dr. Lindsay said.

Dr. Lindsay said the darks days of caring for the sickest patients were on her mind. On the day she got the vaccine, she said, “The light got brighter in the tunnel. I felt like a huge boulder just rolled off my shoulders.”

Dr. Lindsay is an activist for vaccination. And we’ve seen her every step of the way leading by example. She’s received her second dose, served as grand marshal of the Hometown Heroes parade, was presented with an honor at the White House, rolled up her sleeve for her booster shot, and held the hand of a nine-year-old girl who received her first vaccine last month.

“An incredible honor and privilege to be able to have this platform to share my experiences and to just inspire,” Dr. Lindsay said.

The Chief of Public Health and Epidemiology at Northwell Health Dr. Bruce Farber added, “She’s our diplomat. She saved many, many people’s lives by getting an early adaption of the vaccine among our employees. She’s a great communicator. And we need more and more people like that, particularly in underserved areas.”

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Dr. Lindsay immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica when she was 18.

“Particularly for communities of color, there’s a lot of mistrust between our community and the medical community. So, I think it’s very, very important for them to see that I trust science,” she said.

The new Omicron variant is causing concern. And millions of Americans still unvaccinated, the country is bracing for another winter surge.

“We have to continue to get ahead of the misinformation, continue to make it easier for people to get vaccinated,” Dr. Lindsay said.

Dr. Lindsay hopes everyone gets the message and gets protected.

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Lindsay recently received her Doctor of Health Sciences degree with a concentration in global health, organizational behavior, and leadership. Team