COVID-19 booster shot likely coming, SpaceX successfully launches: 5 Things podcast

On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: The U.S. will likely start administering COVID-19 booster shots soon. World health leaders disagree on whether that’s a good thing. Plus, SpaceX successfully launched civilians into space, wildfires close in on Sequoia National Park, it’s Mexican Independence Day and ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ says goodbye.

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson, and this is 5 Things you need to know Thursday, the 16th of September, 2021. Today, the latest science and ethics around COVID-19 vaccine boosters, plus SpaceX has successfully launched civilians into orbit, and more.

Taylor Wilson:

Here are some of the top headlines.

  1. North Korea says it’s successfully launched ballistic missiles from a train for the first time. It’s the latest in a series of recent missile tests for the North, and South Korea has been doing the same, reporting its first test of a submarine launched ballistic missile.
  2. The US is forming a security partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom. It’ll allow them to share defense technology and could be a message to China.
  3. And the Milwaukee Bucks have hired the first full-time female play-by-play announcer for a major men’s professional sports team. Lisa Byington previously made history as the first woman for CBS and Turner Sports to do play by play for the men’s college basketball tournament.

Taylor Wilson:

Most Americans think the worst is yet to come for the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a Pew Research Center report out yesterday, 54% of adult Americans think that. The survey was conducted from August 23rd to 29th and also asked about vaccine status. According to what respondents said, some of the lowest vaccination rates are among those with no health insurance and white Evangelical Protestants, both at 57% at least partially vaccinated compared with the 73% of overall adults who answered the survey. Black adults are now about as likely as white adults to say they’ve received a vaccine dose at 70% and 72% respectively. Earlier in the pandemic, African-Americans were less likely to say they plan to get vaccinated. The data comes as vaccine requirements are ramping up nationwide. Beginning October 7th, Los Angeles County will require proof of vaccination for customers and workers at indoor bars and nightclubs. The move in the country’s most populous county will allow proof of one shot in October before requiring full vaccination by November 4th. Health officials have strongly recommended the same precautions for indoor restaurants, but have not yet mandated them.

Taylor Wilson:

Beginning October 1st, the US will also require COVID-19 vaccinations for new immigrants to the country. The Immigration and Nationality Act already requires a handful of vaccinations to immigrate, including for polio and measles. Booster shots are scheduled to come for Americans on September 20th, this coming Monday, though a CDC advisory committee will first discuss the safety and effectiveness of them later this week. But an expert review published in the Lancet this week, featuring scientists at the World Health Organization, US FDA, and other groups said Americans may not need boosters right now. The review found that vaccines remain highly effective against severe disease, even from the very contagious Delta variant.

Taylor Wilson:

Medical Officer for Vaccine Research at WHO, Dr. Ana Maria Henao-Restrepo said, “Currently available studies do not provide credible evidence of substantially declining protection against severe disease which is the primary goal of vaccination.” And the organization’s Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week that rich countries with large vaccine supplies should not offer booster shots through the end of the year in order to make more doses available for poorer countries. Dr. Katherine O’Brien is the WHO’s Head of Immunization, Vaccines, and Biologicals. She said last week that the immunocompromised may need an additional shot but that those needs need to be weighed with needs for first doses in other parts of the world.

Dr. Katherine O’Brien:

So right now, we’re in a situation where, as I said, the evidence shows that the vaccines that people have received are holding up really well to protect you against severe disease, against hospitalization, and against death. And that’s really the primary intent of the vaccines. What we also see is that we’re in a really inequitable place right now about who has already received the first and the second doses to provide protection against those severe outcomes. In low-income countries and low middle-income countries, they are only at about 1%, 2%, 5% of the population having received vaccine already, and that compares with a lot of vaccine having been deployed in high-income countries and upper middle-income countries.

Dr. Katherine O’Brien:

So the focus now for the supply needs to be to protect those people who are not yet protected at all by vaccines. It will reduce transmission. It will reduce the likelihood of more variants emerging. And it will give us time to see more of the evidence about whether or not booster doses will eventually be needed. Nobody is safe until we all have the opportunity to be vaccinated, to be protected against the virus while vaccine coverage is increasing, and what that really means is getting doses now to those parts of the world that have not had adequate supply so far.

Taylor Wilson:

For his part, Dr. Anthony Fauci said this week that boosters are important and that the government is working to provide vaccine for the US and the world. If the US goes ahead with its booster plan this month, it’s still not clear who exactly will be eligible. That’ll be decided with the advisory committee meetings later this week.

Taylor Wilson:

SpaceX has successfully launched four civilians into space.

Crowds:

Seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.

Audio from launch:

Copy One Alpha.

Vehicle’s pitching down range.

Taylor Wilson:

The historic launch marks the first time ever that civilians have gone into orbit without any professional astronauts along for the ride. The four people will orbit the earth for the next three days before splashing down off the coast of Florida. Paying for the trip is 38-year-old high school dropout billionaire, Jared Isaacman and he’s promoting the mission as a massive fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Isaacman is also a pilot qualified to fly commercial and military jets. On board with him, Hayley Arceneaux, a St. Jude physician assistant who was also treated for bone cancer herself at the hospital as a child. Also Chris Sembroski, an aerospace worker who entered an open lottery by donating to St. Jude. He didn’t actually win, but a friend did and gave him the trip. Then there’s Sian Proctor, a community college educator and former finalist in NASA’s 2009 astronaut class. As we mentioned yesterday, the mission will also feature on a Netflix series which has already been following the crew around for months.

Taylor Wilson:

Sequoia National Park will remain closed today as multiple wildfires are spreading in the area. The California park is home to some of the biggest trees on earth, sequoias. They include the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree in the world, and lots of trees that are thousands of years old. The park closure also led to the evacuation of all park employees from facilities and nearby housing areas. The KCP Complex fire is made up of the Paradise Fire and Colony Fire and began last week.

Taylor Wilson:

It’s independence Day in Mexico. On September 16th, 1810, Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo made the call for independence after midnight by giving a speech in the town of Dolores while ringing the town’s church bells. The moment became known as the Grito de Dolores and kicked off an 11-year war for independence. The result, Mexico’s freedom from Spain after colonial rule for more than 300 years. Last night, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador gave the traditional speech, similar to Hidalgos, as the Mexican president does every year.

Taylor Wilson:

He also ran the same bell Hidalgo did two centuries ago. There are some similarities between Mexican and American independences, both broke away from European rule for instance, but Spanish rule was different than British rule over Americans, and Spaniards had greater power over the indigenous people of Mexico who were often seen as second-class citizens. And the revolutionary war itself led to around 15,000 Mexican deaths compared with the 6,800 Americans killed in their revolution. The war also severely destabilized Mexico’s economy and impacted natural resources making it much less prepared for independence according to Mario Garcia, a Chicanx historian from UC Santa Barbara. And a reminder, the day should not be confused with Cinco de Mayo, which celebrates Mexico’s defeating another global superpower, France in 1862.

Taylor Wilson:

It’s the end of the road for Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Jake Peralta:

If this is to be our last ride, then let us go out in a blaze of glory.

Nine-Nine cast:

Nine-nine.

Charles Boyle:

Blaze of glory.

Jake Peralta:

Blaze of glory.

Taylor Wilson:

After eight seasons, the sitcom’s last episode airs tonight on NBC. The cop comedy’s final season was delayed because of the pandemic and did some rewrites to include storylines on George Floyd’s death and protests against police brutality. Actor Terry Crews said that four scripts were tossed out after what he called deep conversations about reorienting the series as other cop shows grappled with racial reckoning. The show signs off after beginning in 2013 and gaining a steady loyal fan base in the years since, and had a strong digital audience even though it was never highly rated on television.

Taylor Wilson:

The comedy aired on Fox originally for the first five seasons before being canceled, though NBC swooped in to keep it going. It’s also been a favorite on our USA TODAY Save Our Shows poll, which asks TV fans to vote on shows hovering on the bubble between renewal and cancellation. You can tune in to tonight’s one-hour finale at 7:00 PM Eastern before Thursday Night Football.

Taylor Wilson:

And you can find Five Things wherever you’re listening right now. We ask that you subscribe or follow, depending on your app of choice, and if you have a chance, please drop us a rating and review. Thanks as always to Shannon Green and Claire Thornton for their great work on the show. Five Things is part of the USA TODAY Network.

Source: GANNETT Syndication Service

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