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“This is a historic moment, potentially the beginning of the end,” Michael Dowling, president and chief executive of Northwell Health, said of the vaccination that could begin to bring under control a pandemic that has killed more than 35,000 New Yorkers in the state.

During the first wave of the pandemic, Ms. Lindsay led a team of hundreds of critical care nurses as the hospital coped with waves of extremely ill Covid-19 patients. Between March and May, the hospital opened six new intensive care units, expanding its intensive care capacity to about 150 patients at a time, more than triple its usual number.

Ms. Lindsay worked on the floor alongside her staff, helping to rotate patients on their beds, bathe them and get them what they needed, she recalled. The amount of suffering and illness she saw, while deploying and managing her own staff and dozens of travel nurses from around the country who helped assist, was “unbelievable,” she said.

“Some days, I don’t know how I got through it,” she said. “Some days I didn’t know how I got home, but I knew I had to rest and get ready to come back and do it again. Because I did not want to leave my team to do it alone.”

The second person to be vaccinated, Dr. Yves Duroseau, the chair of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, also hoped to be a role model. As a frontline emergency medicine physician, he is at high risk. He wanted the staff of doctors, nurses and other health care workers that he oversees to follow his example, he said.

And as an American of Haitian descent, he said, he was eager to send a message that vaccination is safe. “I think we need to fear the Covid-19 virus more than we need to fear the vaccine,” said Dr. Duroseau.

Also vaccinated on Monday was Stephanie Cal, a critical care nurse who works on Ms. Lindsay’s team — and who called her an “awesome” manager during the crisis.

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