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U.S. Booster Rollout May Be Initially Limited to Pfizer Recipients; U.S Facilitates Departure of Four Americans from Afghanistan Over Land; Teen Titans Shine Bright at the U.S. Open. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired September 06, 2021 - 11:30   ET




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN AT THIS HOUR: Now to the latest on the COVID pandemic. Booster shots are set to begin two weeks from today. But now, the White House chief of staff is clarifying that the September 20th rollout date all depends on FDA approval. Dr. Fauci says it is likely that only the Pfizer vaccine will be used when boosters begin and Moderna could soon come after that.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: What you might see is rather than the simultaneous rolling out of the booster program of both dose products. You may have the sequential by about a week or two. I don't think that is a major issue there but we would have liked to have seen it happen altogether simultaneously.


SANCHEZ: Joining us now is Dr. Aileen Marty. She's a Professor of Infectious Diseases at Florida International University. Doctor, we appreciate you sharing part of your Labor Day with us to bring us some expertise and perspective.

Look, this back and forth over the boosters is confusing, even for someone that follows it closely. What is your advice to Americans right now regarding these booster shots?

DR. AILEEN MARTY, DISTINGUISHED UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR, INFECTIOUS DISEASES, FIU: Well, first, it is a pleasure to be here with you, Boris. The reality is that the science has to follow a process. And it is wise of the White House to make sure that its policies are based on that process. And it has to be done very carefully.

So, yes, it seems confusing because a lot of studies are being done and many studies are coming out before there is peer review. And so as they get peer reviewed, the way the data was initially interpreted can be shown to be correct or incorrect. So, we have to be very careful about how we look at all of the studies that are being done. Now, when it comes to the studies on boosters, what we're looking at is, what is the net immunologic reaction that people have and what is the likelihood that having that amount of observable neutralizing antibodies actually has an impact on their disease acquisition, in other words, their chance of getting sick again. And the data that is now presented, and Pfizer has presented it, does show that there is a drop in protection.

So, as Dr. Fauci has said very correctly, we may have needed three doses all along, just as other vaccines need three doses in order to have an appropriate amount. We don't yet have all of that data looked at and analyzed for Moderna, so we have to wait on that. So it is absolutely right that even though the data looks very good, that we should probably have a third dose of the vaccine in order to achieve longer-lasting, better quality immunity from the Pfizer vaccine, we have to, although it is likely to be true for the Moderna, we have to actually look at the data and make sure we do this properly and correctly, so everyone understands why we're doing it.


Having said that, there is an issue, a moral issue regarding the giving of a third dose, but I think that a lot of the people who are concerned about that are forgetting that if you don't have the highest level of protection and you allow for some degree of transmission to go on because you haven't attained that higher level of protection, then you're always going to be slipping back and forth, Boris. You're not going to get to that point where you're not continuing to block transmission and reduce this pandemic and finally eliminate it. You have go get everyone into as high of a level of protection as possible.

SANCHEZ: Right. And I'm curious about something that I've heard discussed previously. Folks that have gotten the Moderna vaccine, the indication being that they might have to wait longer. Would there be an issue if people who got the Moderna vaccine but wanted to get a Pfizer booster, would that be an issue for them?

MARTY: Right. So that is a million dollar question, right? We don't have the data absolutely. There have been some studies of mixing and matching vaccines that have happened in other countries indicating that it is perfectly fine. There are also individuals that didn't remember which vaccine they had and ended up maybe with the same one, maybe a different one. And then there is over a million people in the United States that have taken a third shot of whatever vaccine was available.

And the upshot is the data is very confusing because we don't have the good, proper study to know for sure what the best thing to do is, which is why you're going to hear advice, well, what we know is this, and that being used the same vaccine, but does that really mean that you can't use Moderna after you've had two shots of Pfizer or Pfizer after you've had two shots of Moderna, probably not. But we need to see the data to be able to answer that in a proper, scientific and medically correct way. SANCHEZ: Yes, important to go through the data before making a big decision like that. Dr. Marty, thank you so much for the time. We appreciate your expertise.

MARTY: A pleasure.

SANCHEZ: Of course. Coming up, we're following breaking news just into CNN. There is new reporting that the United States helped to coordinate the evacuation of several American citizens from Afghanistan since the withdrawal on August 31st. We have details on that just ahead.



SANCHEZ: Some breaking news to share with you. CNN has just learned that the U.S. has facilitated the departure of several American citizens from Afghanistan since the withdrawal. They left over land into a third country.

CNN Senior National Security Correspondent Alex Marquardt joins us with the breaking details. And, Alex, this is evidence that the administration is still working to get those roughly hundred U.S. citizens that remain in Afghanistan out.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Still working and still keen to show how hard they're working to get these Americans out. We have just learned in this first update from the State Department since the full military and diplomatic withdrawal exactly a week ago of more Americans who were able to get out of Afghanistan. Four Americans were able to get out via what a senior State Department official called an overland route. So that means that they did not fly out. They went to a third country, which the State Department declined to name. But these Americans were in good condition, we're told, and they were met on the other side of the border by U.S. embassy officials in that country.

Very interestingly and very notably, Boris, the Taliban, we are told, was aware of this evacuation and did not impede it. That is a critical point because the Taliban has given assurances to scores of countries that Afghans, with the proper travel documents, would be able to get out. Of course, there is very little trust in the Taliban. So that is very important. Boris, all totaled, there are some 6,000 Americans who have managed to get out but the Biden administration says that there is still around 100 more that they are in regular contact with, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Really important detail, the Taliban was aware of their exit. We'll see what this means for the other Americans still in Afghanistan. Alex Marquardt, thank you so much.

Coming up, meet the teens that are taking the U.S. Open by storm. We'll tell you about some of tennis' emerging stars, next.



SANCHEZ: The tennis world is going crazy over two teen titans who were shining bright at the U.S. Open. Carolyn Manno has more in the Bleacher Report.

Carolyn, watching these kids makes me feel like an underachiever.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I think everybody feels that way, Boris. Hi.

The U.S. Open this year doesn't have a lot of stars that we're used to seeing but it's opened the door to who we're going to see for so many years to come. And this tournament has features upset after upset. I mean, you called, Leylah Fernandez, the star, continues to rise after beating Naomi Osaka. The teenager's latest upset coming by way of another multiple Grand Slam winner, Angelique Kerber, the win coming a day before her 19th birthday, which is actually today, so the Canadian moving on to the quarter final of a major for the first time. She is going to face Elina Svitolina tomorrow. That's going to be another tough test.

Meantime, 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz is now the youngest in the Open era to reach the men's quarter finals at Flushing Meadows.


The Spaniard had to claw his way back from being down two sets to one to Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. And at 18 years and four months old, he is eight days younger than Andre Agassi was when he reached this point for the first time back in 1988.

So, Boris, he's going to face another young star in Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday. It's just been phenomenal to see, I mean, the stars of tomorrow are actually here now.

SANCHEZ: Yes, the future of tennis is bright. Carolyn Manno, thank you so much.

After four Olympic golds and four World Cup championships, members of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team are also fighting for equal pay. In a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2019, the players allege they're not getting equal pay compared to the men's team. A federal court disagreed last year and it threw out the player's equal pay claim. The judge found that the women's team negotiated a different pay structure than the men's team, and that the women's players were also paid more than the men. The players are now appealing that decision.

The case plays out in the all new CNN film called LFG. It brings you a behind the scenes look at the determination these women bring to their game both on and off the field. Here's a preview.


JESSICA MCDONALD, FORWARD #14: It took true blood, sweat, and tears to obviously get to where I am today. There were times I wanted to give up. I mean, here I am, three-time pro champion, two-time NCAA champion. I've achieved my dream. I wanted to make the USA Team, and I did.

But even though all these accolades sound absolutely incredible, we don't get paid very much.


SANCHEZ: Let's discuss this story further with CNN Sports Analyst Christine Brennan. She's also a Sports Columnist for USA Today. Good morning, Christine. Thanks for joining us in Labor Day.

Regardless of where the case ends legally, just the fact that these female athletes sued their employer, the federation that oversees the sport for the entire country, that's groundbreaking. Tell us more about that.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Absolutely, Boris. It's something that comes right out of the pages of Billie Jean King's handbook on how to fight for equality for women in sports. Billie Jean King, of course, the great tennis star, did that a generation or even, you could say, two generations ago now fighting for equal pay in tennis. We see now the results, the women making as much, if not, more than a man, all the Grand Slams equal pay. U.S. soccer, Women's soccer team, obviously taking that torch from Billie Jean King and moving forward, wanting also to have equal pay.

What they're saying is, of course, they win all the time, whether it's the World Cup or Olympic melds, the U.S. Men do not. They're not paid the same. Obviously, there's a back and forth with the federation and the courts, the judges on that. But it is a conversation for our time. It is such an important conversation, not only for these women soccer players, which you'll see in the documentary. It's riveting to see what they're doing, but also for the girl next door, for your daughter, your niece, your granddaughter, in terms of moving forward not just in sports but in our culture. And that's what this women's soccer team represents.

SANCHEZ: And you can't ignore the impact that this has for young women watching them, especially because they are so much more successful than the men's team.

So, after the women's team World Cup win in 2019, you predicted they would win their fight for equal pay. It didn't come true. A federal judge dismissed the equal pay claim and the lawsuit. They did settle on the working conditions claim. Now, the team is appealing that ruling. I'm curious to get your reaction to that appeal.

BRENNAN: I think that's the only way for them to go. If they could get to a jury trial, and we know that this -- the twists and turns of this story is -- it will continue. It's certainly no easy path. And U.S. soccer has done a lot for women's soccer. It's a very sexist sport worldwide and U.S. soccer is certainly doing much more than any other country for women. But the question is, is it enough? And the women say no and I think many people agree. So, if they can go to a jury trial, if they can somehow take this to trial, then I would think this team is so popular, most important women's sports team on the planet, Boris, and the most successful women's sports team on the planet. I have a feeling they will do very well in front of a jury. It remains to be seen where this goes, but it is, as I said, an important conversation. And the back and forth, the decimal points, the conversation of who is getting paid more, the reality is these women are incredibly successful and they're staking out a claim, I think, not just for themselves but for generations to come.


Women's basketball, we saw it with NCAA and the unequal treatment, on and on it goes for women's sports. And I think that's the backdrop. That's the stage that this story is set on.

SANCHEZ: Yes. It is a compelling case. Christine Brennan, thank you so much for chatting with us this morning. And you can hear from the players themselves by watching new CNN film, LFG. It premieres tonight at 9:00 P.M. Eastern only on CNN, a powerful way to wrap your Labor Day weekend.

Hey, thanks so much for watching today. Inside Politics with John Kings starts after a quick break.