Al Roker got the COVID-19 vaccine live on the Today show, asking afterward, "Will I get a Hello Kitty Band-Aid?" The 66-year-old weather forecaster qualified for the vaccine as the main requirement at this time is being over 65 years old. Additionally, Roker announced in 2020 that he'd been diagnosed with prostate cancer, which he underwent surgery for in November.
A masked-up Roker sat down and was administered his shot by nurse Jessica Callard, whom he joked with about the cartoon bandage. After getting the shot, Roker exclaimed, "Wow, nurse Jessica, what a pro!" Describing his experience on the New York State health website, hoping to secure an appointment to get vaccinated, Roker said, "I kept hitting refresh, refresh, refresh on the browser and finally got in." He added, "They put up a certain number of appointments each day and then luck of the draw, so you have to keep going in… I lucked out."
Additionally, Roker spoke with Dr. Daniel Baker, Lenox Hill's medical director, who told him that the Pfizer vaccine is "absolutely." safe. "The clinical trials really showed its efficacy and we've seen hundreds and thousands of doses since and everyone’s doing really quite well," Baker said, then going on to remind Roker and the viewers that wearing a mask is still a necessity even after getting vaccinated. "That's a key component in keeping us all safe... Mask wearing is going to be with us for some time now."
Notably, Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke with American Society of Hematology President Stephanie Lee in December and stated that he encourages anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer to get the coronavirus vaccine. "I think patients with cancer should be encouraged to get the vaccine," he said. "They will probably have a lesser degree of immunity. We don’t know now how much immunity we can induce with the vaccine. That is why we argue for healthy people to get vaccinated to develop herd immunity to protect those who are immunocompromised."
However, he also offered a more realistic perspective on what the public should expect for long-term vaccination efforts. "It will be months and months until enough people get vaccines to reach the herd immunity umbrella, and you know many people are not convinced to take the vaccine," Fauci said. "We are going to have to convince people to take it. The speedy development of vaccines reflects the technologic advancement in platforms and the enormous investment by the government. This accounts for the speed of going from a pathogen first recognized in early January to Emergency Use Authorization (EAU) approval of a vaccine in November or December. This is beyond record-breaking!"