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NBC's 'TODAY' show team gets Covid-19 vaccinations on-air

Savannah Guthrie, Dylan Dreyer, Craig Melvin, Sheinelle Jones and Jenna Bush Hager received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday's show.

Five more members of NBC's "TODAY" show team happily lined up to receive their first Covid-19 vaccine shots live on the show Wednesday.

Savannah Guthrie, Craig Melvin, Sheinelle Jones, Dylan Dreyer and Jenna Bush Hager each bared an arm with a smile on Rockefeller Plaza as they received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine from a group of Walgreens pharmacists. They were also joined by New York City health commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi to answer any of their questions.

The team joined the more than 3 million Americans who are now getting the vaccine every day. They are hoping to raise awareness about the importance of getting the vaccine and addressing any hesitancy others may be feeling about receiving it.

You can quickly and easily find out everything you need to know about getting the vaccine in your area through the NBC News "Plan Your Vaccine" tool.

"I feel so grateful," Guthrie said. "I just think about (how) this is something that has not been done in all of human history, a vaccine in a year. Not just one vaccine, but two, three, four candidates. It's an incredible feat of science and I love that, and we're so lucky to get to be the beneficiaries of that."

Image: Savannah Guthrie
Savannah Guthrie joined Walgreens pharmacists on Rockefeller Plaza to receive their first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

"You know I'm not a man of great emotion, but I'm that close to crying," Melvin said. To your point, I'm so thankful for the science and the scientists, but I think we should also remember the 560-plus thousand people in this country that we've lost in this past year to this dreadful virus."

The five members of the "TODAY" crew were all eligible to receive the shot under New York state guidelines, where anyone over 16 now qualifies.

"It is important to get the word out," Chokshi said. "I think about this the same way that I think about talking to my patients. We have to start by listening, to understanding people's questions, answering them. But then we have to do what I think of as helping them find their 'why.'

"Not just protecting themselves, protecting a loved one, and turning the corner on this devastating pandemic."

Nearly 170 million doses have now been given to Americans, with 32 percent of the population having gotten at least one dose and 18.8 percent of the population being fully vaccinated.

Guthrie, Melvin, Jones, Dreyer and Bush Hager joined their colleagues, Carson Daly, Al Roker and Hoda Kotb, who have already been partially or fully vaccinated.

Roker, 66, received his first shot of the Pfizer vaccine live on "TODAY" back in January because he was qualified to receive it in New York, where residents 65 and over were among the first eligible at the time.

Kotb, 56, had to wait a few months longer than Roker for when New Yorkers ages 50 and over became eligible. She shared a look at her first vaccine shot just last week on Instagram.

Chokshi noted that the "TODAY" quintet who received their shots on Wednesday could potentially feel side effects like pain at the site of the injection, headaches, body aches and fever about 12 to 24 hours after the first dose.

They may also experience more side effects when they receive their second dose of the vaccine, which experts say is a normal immune response.

Experts have also noted that women, young people and those who have already had the coronavirus might be experiencing more side effects from the shot, but it's still safe and they are encouraged to get vaccinated.

"Everyone is different, and everyone will experience the shot a little bit differently," Chokshi said. "If you are having side effects, that means that your immune system is revving up, it's doing what it is supposed to do.

"But if as in (Roker's) case, you don't have side effects, you shouldn't worry, your body is still doing what it needs to do to build up protection from the vaccine."

Getting one shot does not mean the "TODAY" team is fully protected against Covid-19 yet. It takes 14 days after the first shot to get partial protection, and they won't be fully protected until 14 days after their second shot, according to Chokshi.

"That's why it's important for us to continue following the precautions that we've advised, particularly wearing the mask and keeping your distance," he said.

The group of five will now be scheduled to get their second Pfizer shot in 21 days. For those getting the Moderna shot, the second dose is scheduled 28 days after the initial shot.

The TODAY team urged everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine, one day after President Joe Biden announced he is moving up the deadline for every state to make all adults eligible for the vaccine to April 19 after originally targeting May 1 as the date for widespread availability.

"One thing I'll say, the most common side effect that I've seen right after getting the shot: tears of joy," Chokshi said.

For those who have been vaccinated or are planning on getting it soon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a set of guidelines last month about what Americans can and cannot do after getting the shots.