Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine began hitting New York arms on Monday.
One of the first Empire State healthcare workers to get the shot was a Queens nurse who survived the virus in March — and later lost her father to the devastating illness.
“I feel good… no pain,” said Arlene Ramirez, moments after getting pricked live on camera at around 4 p.m.
“This is history,” she added. “This is hope that everything is going to be OK, and it’s going to be back to — or better — than before.”
Ramirez, 44, was the first worker in the Northwell Health system to get the Moderna shot, which was approved late Friday and began rolling out on Sunday. It arrived at the healthcare network’s hospitals earlier Monday.
It was an emotional moment for the nurse in the emergency department at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream, who recalled seeing “people clinging to life, death after death” at the hard-hit Queens hospital in the early days of the pandemic.
“This vaccine is very meaningful to me, it’s very important to me…,” she said. “It is hope that we will cease this pandemic. That we will live a better life.”
The mom of two watched as her dad battled the virus in the intensive care unit at LIJ, eventually succumbing to the disease.
Ramirez herself fell “severely ill” with COVID-19 in March and April, and said the vaccine was a way to decrease her chances of going through the disease again.
“We can not be afraid of obtaining the vaccine,” she said, “We should be afraid of COVID.”
She’ll now need to receive a second dose of Moderna’s shot in 28 days.
The moment came after vaccination efforts officially began last week with the Pfizer-BioNTech shot — when another Queens nurse became the first in the entire country to receive the COVID-19 inoculation.
More than 550,000 doses have been administered nationwide since — with some 38,000 in New York, the most of any state in the US, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
Hundreds of thousands of additional doses will arrive in the Empire State in the coming week — 346,000 from Moderna and 120,000 from Pfizer, Cuomo said.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine also requires two shots, administered 21 days apart.
Healthcare workers in New York received first priority for the shot last week, followed by nursing home residents who began being vaccinated on Monday.
In the coming week, the priority will be broadened to include other care workers, EMTs, medical examiners, coroners, funeral home workers, Cuomo said.