The first vaccine vial used in the U.S. is added to the Smithsonian’s collection.

By Anna Schaverien

The United States is racing through hundreds of thousands of vaccine vials a day, but one of particular importance has found its way into the Smithsonian’s collection, as museums attempt to chronicle the history of the pandemic.

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History announced on Tuesday that it had acquired the vial that contained the first vaccine dose administered in the United States after the shot received Food and Drug Administration authorization.

The vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was used on Dec. 14 to inoculate Sandra Lindsay, a nurse at a Queens hospital, has been added to the museum’s collection, along with Ms. Lindsay’s white-and-blue scrubs, her vaccination record card and hospital identification badge.

Northwell Health, the New York-based health care provider that administered the vaccine, made the donation and also shared vials from doses of the Moderna vaccine and other inoculation supplies.

“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,” Anthea M. Hartig, the Elizabeth MacMillan director at the museum, said in a news release.

From the very early days of the pandemic, museums have been scrambling to collect artifacts from the fight against the coronavirus, including diary entries, online schoolwork, photographs and first-person accounts.

The National Museum of American History welcomed another item of importance earlier this month when Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser on Covid-19, presented his colorful three-dimensional model of the coronavirus to the museum’s national medicine and science collections.

The museum, which is still closed to the public because of virus restrictions, has been collecting significant items from the pandemic for a future exhibition exploring American efforts to control and cure illnesses.

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