Photos: U.S. health workers begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine

December 14, 2020, 10:03 PM UTC
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Michelle Chester, director of employee health services at Northwell Health, holds a vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, N.Y.
Angus Mordant—Bloomberg/Getty Images

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Monday was a momentous day in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. As the nation surpassed the grim milestone of 300,000 deaths from COVID-19, some Americans began receiving Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine, which earned emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration on Friday.

As anticipated, high-risk health care workers are the first in line for inoculations; Sandra Lindsay, an intensive care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, N.Y., is believed to be the first American to receive the vaccine outside of a clinical trial. After frontline health care workers, nursing home residents—who have accounted for a disproportionate number of COVID-19 deaths—are expected to be next in terms of priority. The vaccine likely won’t be available to the vast majority of Americans until next spring at the earliest, according to government officials.

Still, the relief comes not a moment too soon. Coronavirus cases and deaths continue to escalate across the country, forcing many states to reinstitute lockdown measures that have already devastated huge swaths of the American economy. Health officials fear that the situation will only get worse over the course of the winter, and continue to warn Americans to wear face masks, avoid indoor and group gatherings, and practice social distancing.

But the arrival of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, as well as the pending approval of Moderna’s own COVID-19 shot, offers hope to a nation whose very way of life has been upended by a once-in-a-century pandemic. With hundreds of sites across the U.S. set to receive the vaccine this week, the beginning of mass inoculations indicates that the tide may be turning against the virus—and that an end to all the death and economic devastation, and a return to normalcy, may finally be on the horizon.

Below, some images from the first day of the historic vaccine rollout in the U.S.:

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Nurse Sandra Lindsay bumps elbows with hospital publicist Joseph Kemp after she is inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, N.Y.
Mark Lennihan—Pool/AFP/Getty Images
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Richard Guarino, supply chain operations associate director at Boston Medical Center, delivers Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to the BMC pharmacy.
Jessica Rinaldi—The Boston Globe/Getty Images
Pharmacy technicians receive a delivery of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at UW Health in Madison.
John Maniaci—UW Health/Reuters
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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear watches as UPS driver Byron Bishop delivers COVID-19 vaccinations to University of Louisville Hospital.
Jon Cherry—Getty Images
A frontline health care worker prepares to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at University of Louisville Hospital.
Scotty Perry—Bloomberg/Getty Images
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Pharmacy staff unpack vials of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at University of Louisville Hospital.
Scotty Perry—Bloomberg/Getty Images
Syringes for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the University of Louisville Hospital.
Scotty Perry—Bloomberg/Getty Images
A freezer where vials of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are stored at the University of Louisville Hospital.
Scotty Perry—Bloomberg/Getty Images
Yves Duroseau, MD, chair of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, volunteers to be the second person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Northwell Health Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, N.Y.
Timothy A. Clary —AFP/Getty Images

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