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Northwell donates materials from first COVID-19 vaccination to Smithsonian

Nurse manager Sandra Lindsay receives her second dose

Nurse manager Sandra Lindsay receives her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center on Jan. 4. Credit: AFP via Getty Images / Pool / Shannon Stapleton

The COVID-19 vaccine shot seen around the world, which took place at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in December, is being memorialized at the Smithsonian, officials announced Tuesday.

Items including the empty Pfizer-BioNTech vial that contained the first doses of the vaccine administered to Northwell Health staff, and the scrubs worn by nurse manager and Port Washington resident Sandra Lindsay — believed to be the first person not in a clinical trial to receive the vaccine in the United States — will become part of the medical collection at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

"Having lived through the devastation and suffering created by the virus, I knew I wanted to be part of the solution to put an end to COVID-19," Lindsay said in a statement. "I hope that when people visit the museum and see all these items that they stop to honor the lives of people who did not make it and remember the loved ones they left behind. I hope it will inspire some discussion and education for future generations."

Lindsay’s vaccination card, documenting the first of her two doses on Dec. 14, and her Northwell employee identification card will also be conserved by the Smithsonian. Northwell also donated materials used to administer the vaccines, including syringes.

The items will be placed in a collection that showcases some of the most important achievements in medicine, including Jonas Salk’s original polio vaccine.

"These now-historic artifacts document not only this remarkable scientific progress but represent the hope offered to millions living through the cascading crises brought forth by COVID-19," Anthea M. Hartig, the museum’s Elizabeth MacMillan Director, said in a statement.

The museum is asking members of the public for suggestions on how to document the COVID-19 pandemic. They can email suggestions to inquiry@si.edu.

Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, said when Lindsay "rolled up her sleeve, we weren’t just showing our team members the safety and efficacy of this groundbreaking vaccine — we were telling the world that our country was beginning a new fight back to normalcy. It was an extraordinary moment."

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