Al Roker is leading by example.
Live on air during the Tuesday, Jan 19 episode of the Today show, the beloved weatherman received the Pfizer coronavirus vaccination, administered by a medical professional at NYC's Lenox Hill Hospital.
At 66, he was eligible to apply—and kept refreshing the online booking system all weekend long. "Kept logging in, logging in," explained Roker, who recently underwent surgery for prostate cancer. "Sunday morning, I finally got assigned here to Lenox Hill Hospital. It was a constant—I kept hitting refresh, refresh on the browser and finally got in guys…luck of the draw."
Before receiving the shot, Roker spoke with medical director Dr. Daniel Baker to learn more about the vaccine and its proven safety. However, Baker stressed the importance of continuing to wear a mask even after getting vaccinated.
"That's actually a key component of keeping us all safe," he explained. "We're not going to know who has had the vaccine. We're also going to take some time in terms of getting up to enough people to where we can really take these masks off. So, mask wearing is going to be with us for some time now."
However, Baker is hopeful that once fully vaccinated, patients will not be asymptomatic nor unknowingly spread COVID-19. "As with most diseases, when you get some immunity, we're hoping you then wouldn't be able to then transmit it," he told Roker. "But we're going to see as these things go and we'll have a little bit more information coming."
As for the side effects, Baker compared the vaccine to the flu shot, noting Roker will likely feel soreness in his arm. As he assured, "You're going to be up and on the Today show tomorrow morning, no problem."
And, in true Roker fashion, he found a way to make himself and viewers smile while getting the shot. "The real question is," he asked the administrator, "will I get a Hello Kitty Band Aid?" (Spoiler: He didn't.)
Instead, he received something better: a round of applause from his fellow co-hosts Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Carson Daly, who proudly watched on from the Today studio. Raved Daly, "That's excellent."
Comcast NBCUniversal, TODAY's parent company, wants to help you "Plan Your Vaccine" so we can all stay safe, and reunite with our loved ones soon. Visit PlanYourVaccine.com to sign up for our interactive site that will give you all the vaccination information you need, all in one place, so you're ready to go when it's your turn.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)