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FDA supports Moderna COVID-19 booster shots for some, MLB playoffs update: 5 Things podcast

  • October 16, 2021

On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: The FDA committee will decide on Johnson Johnson boosters today. Plus, a Texas law banning most abortions remains in effect after the latest court decision, the Major League Baseball League Championship Series begin, massive asteroids pass “close” to Earth and a new ‘Halloween’ sequel hits theaters.

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 Friday, the 15th of October 2021. Today, what to know about the FDA’s advice on boosters for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Plus, we’re down to the final four teams in the Major League Baseball postseason and more.

Taylor Wilson:

Here are some of the top headlines: 

  1. The suspect in a bow and arrow attack that killed five people in Norway faces a custody hearing today. Danish citizen Espen Anderson Broughton has confessed to the killings.
  2. Former President Bill Clinton has been hospitalized with an infection. But his spokesman said he is on the mend.
  3. And New South Wales, the Australian state that includes Sydney will end hotel quarantine requirements for vaccinated visitors when international flights resume in the next two weeks.

Taylor Wilson:

A Federal Advisory Panel voted yesterday to support booster shots of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, but not for everyone. The Food and Drug Administration Committee endorsed boosters for people aged 65 and up and younger adults with certain medical conditions or jobs that put them at increased risk for infection. Committee Chair, Dr. Arnold Monto.

Dr. Arnold Monto:

The available data support the safety and effectiveness of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for use under EUA as a booster dose, 50 micrograms, mRNA-1273 and at least six months after completion of a primary series in the following population.

Taylor Wilson:

The booster will be a half dose of the same vaccine already given. Company data suggests that the lower dose was as effective, but had potentially fewer side effects. That FDA committee decision still needs to be verified by a different advisory panel and by top federal officials. Today, the committee will vote on boosters for a different vaccine, Johnson Johnson. But it’s unclear if they have enough data to make a decision yet on JJ. Trial results showed major improvements two months after the initial single vaccine dose, but involved only about 8,000 people. And after six months, only 17 people were tracked. The one shot of Johnson Johnson has been found to be 72% protective against moderate to severe disease in the U.S. and data after two months bumped that up all the way to 94%. JJ said the booster also gives 100% protection against severe or critical symptoms. The FDA panel will also hear information today about getting a different vaccine as a follow-up.

Taylor Wilson:

A Texas law banning most abortions remains in effect. That’s after a federal appeals court sided with Texas officials a second time yesterday, and again suspended a lower court ruling that blocked the law. It prevents abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy, essentially banning the vast majority of abortions in general in the state. The three judge panel on the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled two to one late yesterday, refusing a request from the U.S. Department of Justice to allow a lower court ruling that blocked enforcement of the Texas law. The federal government will likely appeal yesterday’s ruling to the Supreme Court, but the High Court previously allowed the law to go into effect in the first place by not intervening at the request of Texas abortion providers.

Taylor Wilson:

The Texas law is the most restrictive abortion rule in the country and it allows private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps abortions in violation of the law. If successful, citizens can collect at least $10,000. Meanwhile, those seeking abortions in Texas are going to other states, a move that further deepens the class divide on who can and cannot get abortions because not everyone can afford to do so. Stephanie Chafee at Hope Medical Center for Women in Shreveport, Louisiana said that Texans are coming to their clinic in big numbers.

Stephanie Chafee:

First thing they say when they call is, “I’m from Texas.” And we know about 75% of our calls now are from Texas. It’s really hard to guarantee them the next day. So some of them are looking at having to drive twice and they feel like they already started the process in Texas, but we can’t do anything over the phone. It has to be an in-person visit.

Taylor Wilson:

For more on the ongoing fight over abortion in Texas and around the country, stay with usatoday.com.

Taylor Wilson:

And then there were four. Major League Baseball’s playoffs are down to four teams in the League Championship Series and the American League Championship Series begins tonight with the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros. Both of these teams have gone through cheating scandals in recent years and USA TODAY Sports Charles Curtis looks at whether the squads can redeem their legacies.

Charles Curtis:

And here’s the thing. I forgot that the Red Sox cheated. I was like, “Oh yeah, Alex Cora got fired then he got rehired like a year later.” The thing is the Astros’ cheating scandal blows all the other cheating scandals out of the water. There was the trash can bang. There was the computer in the hall and then all the players down in the … were relaying signals. And we forget that the Red Sox were there, but sure why not? I think seriously, the Astros’ cheating scam is going to stick with them. Even if they win this series, win the World Series, win another double World Series, it’s just never going to end. And the Red Sox, I think we’ve all been done with it, frankly maybe because a lot of people and maybe this reporter or editor thinks that everybody cheats. So we’ll see. Good luck to the AL cheating S.

Taylor Wilson:

You can tune into game one just after 8:00 PM Eastern on Fox. On the other side, the NLCS will begin tomorrow between the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Braves knocked off the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this week, while the Dodgers last night beat their arch rival, San Francisco Giants in game five of the NLDS two to one. You can stay up on all the latest throughout the playoffs with USA TODAY Sports.

Taylor Wilson:

Several massive asteroids will pass close by Earth in the next few weeks, including one today. The space rock is called 2021 SM3 and measures more than 500 feet in diameter, bigger than the Great Pyramid of Giza. An asteroid that size would cause major local damage to the impact area if it hit Earth, but it’ll be about 3.6 million miles from the planet and at its closest point. Still, that’s considered a near-Earth object. NASA says that classification goes to comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighborhood.

Taylor Wilson:

The latest sequel in the famous Halloween movie series is out today. Halloween Kills brings back actress Jamie Lee Curtis once again, 40 years after the first film and this movie picks up where the 2018 chapter left off with of course masked psycho Michael Myers returning. Curtis will next film Halloween Ends, but who knows if that’ll actually be the end of any kind. You can catch Halloween Kills in theaters or streaming on Peacock.

Taylor Wilson:

Thanks for listening to 5 Things. You can find us seven days a week wherever you’re listening right now. And if you liked the show, please pass it along to a family member or a friend. Thanks as always to Shannon Green and Claire Thornton for their great work on the show. And I’ll be back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from the USA Today Network.

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