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ER nurse receives NUMC's first COVID-19 vaccine dose, hopes skepticism fades

Nassau University Medical Center ER nurse Gabrielle Desiree was the hospital's first front-line health care worker to get the initial dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

News 12 Staff

Dec 16, 2020, 1:15 AM

Updated 1,283 days ago

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Nassau University Medical Center and other Long Island hospitals received Pfizer's vaccine Tuesday, a step in protecting its workforce from COVID-19.
Nassau University Medical Center ER nurse Gabrielle Desiree was the hospital's first front-line health care worker to get the initial dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. The historic moment came just hours after almost 800 doses of the vaccine arrived at the East Meadow hospital.
"I'm so happy the vaccine is here because as an emergency nurse, I witnessed so many patients fail and a lot of families are crying," says Desiree.
Desiree was congratulated by NUMC's CEO as well as County Executive Laura Curran.
"For being a real Wonder Woman, a real frontier barrier-breaker and it sends such a great message to our entire Nassau County, to all our residents that this is a safe vaccine, that this is an effective vaccine and this is the beginning of getting back to normal," says Curran.
But the Rev. Dr. Sedgwick Easley, of Union Baptist Church in Hempstead, says getting the message of vaccine safety and confidence to communities of color, which have been disproportionately impacted by the virus, is going to be a process.
"There is much skepticism in regards to getting vaccines," says Easley. "Part of that goes to our history for many of us who know history understand what happened in Tuskegee, when in regards to the syphilis study where there has not been trust between government and the African American community."
But Easley says seeing front-line health care workers who are Black among the first people to get the vaccine is likely to encourage others.
Desiree hopes others will follow her lead once the vaccine is widely available.
"I hope they can step forward and take the vaccine and to stop the spread of the disease," says Desiree.


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