The Latest: What it’s like to get a Covid-19 vaccine

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
3 min readDec 16, 2020


Dear Reader,

Even though I’ve been waiting for a vaccine for Covid-19 since March, I wasn’t prepared for how surreal and emotional it would feel to see people getting vaccinated against a virus that has killed over 300,000 people in the United States alone.

My colleague Dana Smith interviewed Sandra Lindsay, RN, an intensive care unit nurse in New York City who was the first person to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S., and Michelle Chester, MD, the doctor who administered it.

“I’m happy that I got the opportunity and got the platform to get the vaccine; to be able to instill some confidence in the Black community, the minority community; for them to see that the vaccine is safe; and to encourage people that they should trust the science,” Lindsay says.

READ: What It’s Like to Get — and Give — the First Covid-19 Vaccine

If you have any questions about the vaccine, please bookmark this guide, which will be frequently updated.

(P.S.: If you need a mood booster, I highly recommend scrolling through photos of people getting vaccinated in the U.K.)

Here’s what’s new:

  • Case count: There are over 16.7 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and over 73.5 million confirmed cases worldwide. So far over 303,849 Americans have died from Covid-19.
  • U.S. seeks more vaccine doses from Pfizer: The administration is negotiating a deal to free up supplies of raw materials to help Pfizer produce tens of millions of additional doses of its Covid-19 vaccine, the New York Times reports.
  • FDA likely to grant emergency authorization for Moderna vaccine: Data released on Tuesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows the Covid-19 vaccine made by Moderna is highly protective for adults and prevents severe cases of Covid-19. The positive review suggests the agency is likely to approve the vaccine for emergency use.
  • U.S. Covid-19 deaths surpass 300,000: The number of people with the coronavirus who have died passed 300,000 on Monday. Covid-19 has now surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States.

Follow our Medium Coronavirus Blog for regular updates, and read some of the essential stories we’ve curated below.

Be well,

Alexandra Sifferlin
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog

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A quick Q&A: Should I get the vaccine if I already had Covid-19?

Some of the phase 3 trials excluded people with a history of Covid-19, but most, including Pfizer’s, included people with past Covid-19 infections, and the Pfizer vaccine showed equal efficacy in people whether they had a past infection or not. The vaccine will most likely be recommended even to those who have had Covid-19, especially since it’s still unknown how long immunity lasts or how strong it is after a natural infection. Read more Q&As here.

New on the Blog:

What It’s Like to Get — and Give — the First Covid-19 Vaccine

Vaccination Programs Are Moments of Unity. Do We Have It In Us?

Should Covid-19 Be Offered in Pregnancy? Doctors Say Yes

Medical Schools Are Seeing an 18% Increase in Applications, Thanks to the ‘Fauci Effect’

A Worsening Epidemic Looming in the Midst of Covid-19

The Most Touching Photos of People Getting a Covid-19 Vaccine

What About Just One Dose of the Pfizer Vaccine?

A few more smart reads:

The People Who Care for Covid-19 Long-Haulers

Psychiatric Drugs Could Be the Key to Treating Covid-19

Will Covid-19 Cause a Baby Boom — or Bust?

How the Pandemic Has Changed Sex

Covid-19 Can Scar Lungs. Preventing It With Drugs Is Debated

The Scientific Guide to Not Freezing Your Ass Off This Winter

How Science Beat the Virus (The Atlantic)



Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that