Smithsonian obtains America’s first COVID-19 vaccine vial

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Posted at 7:22 PM, Mar 09, 2021

The first vial used to vaccinate Americans against the coronavirus has been obtained by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the museum announced Tuesday.

The first vaccine was administered on Dec. 14 by Northwell Health in New York.

Sandra Lindsay, an intensive care nurse in New York, is the first known American to receive the vaccine in a non-clinical setting. Her vaccination record card, scrubs and hospital ID badge were also donated to the Smithsonian.

“The urgent need for effective vaccines in the U.S. was met with unprecedented speed and emergency review and approval,” said Anthea M. Hartig, the museum’s Elizabeth MacMillan Director. “These now historic artifacts document not only this remarkable scientific progress but represent the hope offered to millions living through the cascading crises brought on by COVID-19.”

The museum has been closed during the last year, but the Smithsonian has been adding additional artifacts related to the virus. The museum’s staff has searched the country for artifacts that capture the virus.

“Dec. 14 was a historic moment for all: the day the very first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the United States,” said Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health. “It was our first real sign of hope after so many dark months in the fight against the global pandemic. Northwell was prepared to put shots in arms as soon as the vaccine arrived, not to make history but to protect our frontline workers battling COVID-19 as quickly as possible. But when Sandra 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, and I thank the Smithsonian for preserving this important milestone.”