News & Politics

Smithsonian Obtains I.D. Badge of America’s First Covid Vaccine Recipient, Other Pandemic Artifacts

The vial once containing the first vaccine dose administered in the U.S. also joins its collection.

Photograph via iStock.

The hospital I.D. badge of America’s first covid vaccine recipient has been acquired by the National Museum of American History, as the Smithsonian looks to preserve artifacts of the health crisis that has shaken the country over the past year. 

Along with the I.D. badge, the Smithsonian has obtained the scrubs and vaccination record card belonging to Sandra Lindsay, an ICU nurse who on December 14 became the first person in the country to get the vaccine. Lindsay’s belongings are among the materials donated to the Smithsonian by Northwell Health, which administered the first vaccine doses in the United States. Other donated items include the empty vial that once contained the first vaccine dose injected into Lindsay.

These and other covid-related items will go to the American History museum’s medicine and science collections, where they will be preserved alongside Jonas Salk’s original polio vaccine, Alexander Fleming’s penicillin mold, and other artifacts of critical significance. 

“The urgent need for effective vaccines in the U.S. was met with unprecedented speed and emergency review and approval,” Anthea Hartig, the museum’s director, said in a press release Tuesday. “These now historic artifacts document not only this remarkable scientific progress but represent the hope offered to millions living through the cascading crises brought on by COVID-19.”

The museum has been collecting items related to the pandemic since last April. The public can submit their own stories of the living through the covid pandemic here. 

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Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.