Watch CBS News

COVID 1 Year: Vaccines Offer Shot Of Hope, Despite Ongoing Distribution Struggles

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The COVID-19 vaccine now offers a shot of hope.

More than 70 million doses have been administered across the country, but the rollout has been plagued with issues, delaying vaccination goals.

CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas has more on the uncertainty and the optimism for the future.

It was the shot seen around the world. On Dec. 14, Queens ICU nurse Sandra Lindsay became the first person in the country, outside of clinical trials, to receive the vaccine.

It began the largest vaccination effort in history, and it has already come with plenty of obstacles.

Lindsay, of Long Island Jewish Medical Center, had no idea she volunteered to be in the history books.

"Protecting myself, the community, my patients, my family. Leading by example and also instilling public trust," she told Cline-Thomas.


The medical community was first in line for what had become a long awaited scientific breakthrough.

"This never would have been possible without the volunteers who took a risk, and trusted us, and came in and were willing to help us find out if the vaccine was safe," said NYU Vaccine Center physician investigator Dr. Rebeca Pellett Madan.

More than 1,000 New Yorkers volunteered to participate in NYU Langone's various clinical trials that included the Pfizer vaccine. Their results added to similar trials around the world.

All of that before the FDA approved it for the general public.

But getting a safe and effective vaccine was just the first hurdle. Cumbersome online portals to make appointments, to limited vaccine supply lead to mounting frustration as eligibility widened.


The data across the Tri-State Area showed an alarming trend -- Black and Brown communities hardest hit by COVID were the least likely to get the vaccine.

It was first blamed on hesitancy, based on years of mistrust of the medical community. But Rev. Dr. David Jefferson, of the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark, saw an ever bigger issue.

"We in particular do not have a ton of Walgreens and CVS in our community. But guess what we do have? We have churches," he said.

After pressing state and local leaders, vaccines arrived at Metropolitan's community center. Jefferson was among a coalition of pastors who rolled up their sleeves to show their faith in the process.

Now, Metropolitan has a waiting list of others ready to do the same.

Across the region, neighborhoods that were once hotspots are now beginning to be prioritized.

Meantime, the coronavirus is mutating into a more contagious disease and remains a threat. It creates an even greater sense of urgency to get more shots into people's arms.

"Very likely the end of May, the beginning of June, when we will have many, many more doses of vaccines that you can actually give to people," said Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci.

It's the key to getting to a new normal.

The FDA has approved Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine that's effective at preventing serious illness and does not have the same refrigeration requirements as Moderna and Pfizer's vaccines. It's been described as a game changer that will provide a much-needed boost to the supply.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.