SWITZERLAND, DECEMBER 15 – A critical care nurse, Sandra Lindsay on Monday became the first American to get a coronavirus shot since the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorized by the government three days earlier. “It didn’t feel any different than taking any other vaccine,” Lindsay said afterward, sitting in a blue armchair at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in hard-hit New York.
From a different vantage point, it feels like a turning point. Over the weekend, some governors stood by at hospital loading docks to witness the first vaccine shipments arrive in their states – part of an initial distribution of 2.9 million doses aimed at relieving medical workers and people at long-term care facilities across the country. Millions more doses are slated to follow in the coming weeks.
According to the Washington Post, President Trump overturned a plan to give some of the first shots to White House officials hours after the New York Times first reported the intention on Sunday. The proposal had angered the president’s critics, who noted that Trump and members of his administration have routinely downplayed the pandemic, disregarded social distancing guidelines and been involved in multiple coronavirus outbreaks.
The lightning-fast development of the vaccine “happened both because of and despite Trump,” Washington Post wrote in a story about how a famously anti-science president came to rely on the “medical deep state” to deliver the one shining success in his otherwise disastrous pandemic response.
Now that vaccines are arriving in states, local health officials need to persuade people to take them. As many as 70 percent of Americans will need to get shots to achieve herd immunity, including people who distrust vaccines. Philadelphia is considering using block captains to help persuade people to get the shots.
There’s already a push to remind people that side effects are normal after getting jabbed — even a sign that the vaccine is working.