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Doctor Leading Children's Vaccine Trial Speaks to CNN; Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) is Interviewed about Abuse of Migrants; Anderson Cooper is Interviewed about his New Book; Brianna Keilar Shares her Champion for Change Pick. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired September 21, 2021 - 08:30   ET



DR. ROBERT FRENCK JR, DIRECTOR, VACCINE RESEARCH CENTER, CINCINNATI CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER: Tolerated in the younger adults so that we just use that one dose for everybody. But we then just relooked at it again for that -- when we got down to under 12 and found that while we still got a good immune response at the ten micrograms, we could make it a little bit easier for the kids by giving them that lower dose.

And, you know what, if you look at flu vaccine, it's not that unusual what we found, is we give the same dose of flu vaccine to a six-month- old as we give a 64-year-old. And when we get to 65 is when we actually have to increase the dose of vaccine.


And, quickly, you know, the -- the interval between the doses, a lot seems to be made -- made of that. I -- I read a paper saying that perhaps eight weeks was sort of the sweet spot, if you will, between the first and the second dose. Was that looked at?

FRENCK: That had not been tested. That would be a second thing that would be looked at.

You know, so what you're -- again, with the pandemic, you're trying to get a regimen that works. When -- so we do have a regimen in the adults that's giving us 95 percent efficacy. So, we may be able to tweak that a bit. But we know that regimen works. And so we stuck with what we knew worked.

GUPTA: And do you have any anticipation that a booster would be necessary? That's the hot topic, obviously.

FRENCK: So, what I would say, Dr. Gupta, is that if we could get the 40 percent of people that aren't vaccinated, vaccinated, that would give us a lot more bang for our buck than trying to get boosters into everyone now. We may need boosters later on, but I think people should feel comfortable that in the United States the primary vaccine series is still holding very well.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And, Dr. Frenck, can I ask, why age and not size, right? A lot of 11-year-olds are bigger than a lot of 13-year- olds.

FRENCK: So, it was a little bit arbitrary as far as that -- as far as where we've made the choice. And you could do some fine tuning. But, like I said, the profile in the 12 and above at the 30 micrograms that this safety profile, they did fine. I think you probably could use a little bit lower dose. But the FDA's only allowed to approve what they have the data for. And we know the 30 micrograms is working well for the 12 to 15-year-olds. Actually, the data there showed that their immune response was superior to the 16 to 25-year-olds when both of them were tested at the 30 microgram dose. So the young kids immune system worked really well.

GUPTA: Is there anybody, when it comes to these children, that you think should -- should not take the vaccine based on what you saw or -- or should everyone definitely take it or are there some people who -- who are more at risk, do you think?

FRENCK: I would advocate everyone to get a vaccine who can get a vaccine. The only known really risk factors to stay away from would be the -- if you have a known allergy to PEG, polyethylene glycol, which is a stabilizer in the vaccine, but that's a very, very unusual allergy. Otherwise, there's really no contra indications to the vaccine.

BERMAN: I have to say, Dr. Robert Frenck, crystal clear answers. Really fascinating to speak with someone who's been in the middle of it all and from such a wonderful institution. WE appreciate the work you're doing there.

Sanjay, as always, great to see you.

FRENCK: Thank you so much.

GUPTA: Thank you. Thank you.

BERMAN: Backlash over images that appear to show U.S. Border Patrol agents getting aggressive with migrants. We're going to get reaction from a Republican in Congress, next.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, the search intensifies for Gabby Petito's fiance as we hear a disturbing 911 call alleging that he slapped her in public.



KEILAR: Moments ago, the head of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, told NEW DAY that he is horrified by the video and the images that we are seeing from the border that appear to show Border Patrol agents on horseback using reins on Haitian migrants at the border. We can certainly see people dodging out of the way of horses as well.

Joining us now to discuss is Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales of Texas. His district includes the town of Del Rio. Sir, thank you so much for being with us.

First, I just want to address what we're seeing here in these images. What is your reaction to this?

REP. TONY GONZALES (R-TX): Yes, my reaction is, when you have tens of thousands of people under a bridge in a very chaotic situation, of course it's going to create chaos. You know, the men and women in green, the Border Patrol agents, and their families, have been working around the clock throughout this crisis for months on end. It's a very desperate situation. And they're -- they're doing God's work, fighting everything they can.

You know, I spoke with Border Patrol leadership this morning and they assured me that this is under investigation, that they have oversight on site in Del Rio to ensure things like this do not happen. The last thing any of us want to see is the mistreatment of anyone to include migrants. But when you have tens of thousands of people and only a hundred -- hundreds of Border Patrol agents, it creates a very desperate situation.

KEILAR: So it sounds like you're saying this isn't OK, but it's understandable because of the conditions that Border Patrol agents are facing?

GONZALES: It's an impossible situation. It's exactly the reason which -- which none of us want to see, right? Which absolutely has to get corrected with a policy change. Border Patrol are -- you know, the Border Patrol agents do not control policy. They only enforce it.

KEILAR: Oh, OK, let me -- let me ask you a question because I don't know that you can see it, but the image that just we saw was of a horse charging in such a way that a little girl is running to get out of the way.

GONZALES: Yes, no, it's horrible, the families that are there, the young children that are running around, the conditions that are all over.

KEILAR: But what should the agents be doing, sir?

GONZALES: Yes, the agents should be guarding our border. The agents should be protecting us. And none of the agents want to be -- want to be dealing with this migrant situation. They want to be, you know, stopping bad guys from entering our country. They want to be stopping drugs from entering the United States. This is an impossible situation.

I've also heard reports that some of the migrants have been physically attacking agents.


I mean all of it is a chaotic situation all the way around.

The bottom line, though, America is a nation -- a warm nation and we don't want to harm anyone, to include migrants, in any form or fashion, especially families and children.

KEILAR: OK, but the -- the kids are not attacking agents, to be clear. Just to be clear.

GONZALES: Oh, I -- no, I heard a single adult males, which is the bulk of the migrants there in Del Rio are single adult males are beginning to be unruly, and they've attacked several agents.

So as this situation continues, as folks are repatriated to Haiti, you're going to see this continue to unfold. This is just the beginning. This chaotic situation in Del Rio is only going to get worse and it has to stop with a policy change by the administration.

KEILAR: So, you know, we just asked the DHS secretary about the situation there. It's -- it's something, quite frankly, we haven't really seen before, right, this -- essentially a refugee camp inside of the U.S., now over 10,000 migrants. There is a reticence on the part of the administration to call this a crisis. What do you say to that?

GONZALES: Oh, it's absolutely a humanitarian crisis on steroids. But we've got to look beyond that. You know, over -- over 10,000 migrants living under a bridge in a -- in a third world type environment in the United States, it's the last thing any of us want to see.

I go back to it as, this gets solved with a policy shift by the administration, short-term. Long-term, Congress has to come together and push legal immigration reform. That's the long-term solution to this all. But until that happens, you're going to see more images like this. You're going to see more, you know, desperate situations where families are making the trek across this dangerous terrain in order to come to the United States. It's all a horrible situation.

But I want to be clear, you know, we have to support the men and women in green that are doing everything they possibly can to keep our borders safe.

KEILAR: The secretary just said that there will be a dramatic change here in the next 48 to 96 hours. He said that there will be four flights going out today under Title 42 to Haiti.

Do you welcome that?

GONZALES: I think that -- I think that's a good start. There needs to be more -- more enforcement of our current laws. And -- but it also needs to happen at a much quicker rate.

The city of Del Rio is just completely overwhelmed. It's as if a category five hurricane has hit this small town. Everyone's trying to deal with it. At this point we shouldn't be Republicans or Democrats. We need to come together and we need to get through this crisis together.

KEILAR: All right, Congressman Tony Gonzales, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

GONZALES: Thank you.

KEILAR: Next, a potential Havana syndrome attack on a CIA staffer has the nation's top spy chief, quote, fuming.

BERMAN: But, first, CNN's Anderson Cooper joins us. How the story of his ancestors became what he calls a letter to his son.



BERMAN: In a new book, CNN's Anderson Cooper is exploring his own family history and shining a light on one of America's most storied families, the Vanderbilts. He writes, the United States, a country found on anti-royalist principles, would, only 20 years after its revolutionary burst into existence, produce the progenitor of a family that would come to hold itself up as American royalty, with the titles and palaces to prove it. But their empire would last for less than a hundred years before collapsing under its own weight, destroying itself with its own pathology.

Joining us now is the anchor of "ANDERSON COOPER 360" and the author of the new book, "Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of An American Dynasty," Anderson Cooper.

Great to see you.


BERMAN: So the guy you were talking about there, the progenitor, is Cornelius Vanderbilt.

COOPER: Yes. Right, my great, great, great grandfather.

BERMAN: I like to call him the commodore.

COOPER: The commodore, yes, that's what he was known. He liked to be called the commodore as well, I think.

BERMAN: How aware were you of all of this growing up?

COOPER: I wasn't -- I -- I was not aware really at all. My mom actually, you know, was Gloria Vanderbilt, but she had a very fractured relationship with the family she was born into. She didn't know her father. He died of alcoholism when she was 15 months old. And she never really connected to any of them. So she never told me stories growing -- about her childhood growing up. She never really spoke about it.

And I, you know, I think if she was alive, to read this book, she would find it as fascinating as I found it because she really didn't know the details about all of these people who she was so connected to.

BERMAN: She would have learned something and you certainly learned a lot reading it. COOPER: Oh, I totally -- I mean I really knew nothing about -- I mean

I -- you know, I was a big fan of like "The Crown" series. This is like "The Crown" on steroids with a whole bunch of Americans. It's -- you know, it's a multigenerational story. There are larger than life characters. Some are irredeemable and awful. Some are -- have, you know, extraordinary accomplishments.

You know, but, for me, in writing this, with the author Katherine Howe, we wanted to kind of look -- not look at the commodore as a, you know, as a businessman and all his business ventures, books have been written about that, but as, who these people were as human beings, in the glare of spotlight, in the glare of celebrity, in the glare of all this wealth and how the pathological obsession with money that the commodore had infected subsequent generations.

BERMAN: Well, first of all, more dysfunctional than "The Crown" is almost physiologically impossible.

COOPER: Well, it comes close.

BERMAN: But it's interesting.


BERMAN: Well, that's what I'm saying. So -- so pathological obsession with money. What went wrong? Because you really do focus on the fall.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, I -- look, the commodore had what he called a mania for money. He didn't care about anything else. He didn't care about the daughters he had, because they wouldn't inherit the Vanderbilt name. He really didn't care about his sons until one of them tricked him in business and then he suddenly thought, oh, this guy may have something. I'm going to give him all the money. He gave him $100 million when he died in 1877, which was more money than anyone had ever seen before. It was more money than was in the U.S. Treasury.

But the subsequent generations basically just went on this spending spree to break into society, to build these enormous palaces, all of which were built and torn down within a span of about 60 years.

BERMAN: What lesson do you get from that now as you're writing this? And I wonder if there was a lesson for you in it growing up through osmosis or otherwise.

COOPER: Oh, I very -- the reason I didn't know any of the Vanderbilts, I could have read history books about them as a kid, I wanted nothing to do with them. I looked, as a little kid, at my dad's side of the family, which was Mississippi's farm during The Depression, and what little I knew about my mom's sort of tortured background, and as a little kid I was like, I'm sticking with the Coopers.

BERMAN: I pick this.

COOPER: Like, I -- no good can come of imagining a life of living in palaces and connected to the Vanderbilts. It just didn't seem like a recipe for a good life or a happy life.

And, also, my parents told me early on, like, people are going to think you have all this -- that there's all this money waiting for you. Like, there isn't. You know, we're doing well, your college will be paid for, but, you know, you've got to make your own way, which I was happy to know.


I mean I'm glad they did that because -- you know, a lot of the Vanderbilts said, it's -- the money they got, it sucked the initiative they -- they might have had and kind of led to this life of isolation and, sort of, yes, sadness in many ways.

BERMAN: To be clear, you're doing OK. You're making your own way, as far as I can tell.

COOPER: I'm -- I'm very -- I'm very -- yes. But, I mean, I was glad early on to know that that is what, like everybody else, I have to make my way, that there wasn't some pot of gold. So I do think it -- it's not a good thing.

BERMAN: Because you work incredibly hard. I've always been struck by how hard you work. Not only do you do your show, but then you have "60 Minutes," you do all these things and I always wondered whether you were driven to do it maybe because you saw how easily it can be squandered.

COOPER: Oh, absolutely, 100 percent. I mean I knew my mom, who even, you know, made money on her own, she spent a lot of money. And, as a little kid, I knew, like, this ship is sort of sinking and I got to -- you know, I wanted stability. I wanted like a stable foundation.

BERMAN: I think I'm getting a hard wrap here. Was that what you just said in my ear? Because I have a million more questions.

OK, that was a hard wrap.


BERMAN: We'll take this offline.


BERMAN: Listen, and I know you wrote this largely for your son, Wyatt. He will get so much out of this.


BERMAN: As I'm sure he learns so much from you every day.

Thank you so much.

COOPER: My pleasure.

BERMAN: Anderson Cooper's book is "The Vanderbilts: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty."

We'll be right back.


KEILAR: All this week, in a special series that we call "Champions for Change," we are spotlighting innovative thinker and bold doers challenging norms and making a lasting impact.


My champion is retired Three Star General Gwen Bingham. She is leading the charge to help military families of color as part of the non- profit Blue Star Families. It's a cause that I also care deeply about, and here's why.


KEILAR (voice over): They say that military service is a family business, and that's really the truth.

CHARO BATES, MARINE CORPS SPOUSE: The sacrifice of military families, it's not a temporary moment that we sacrifice, we sacrifice every single day.

KEILAR (on camera): This is a cause that is close to my heart because I'm a military spouse and my kids are part of a military family. My husband is an Army special forces officer. He missed my entire pregnancy of our three-year-old.

At the heart of Blue Star Families is making life better for military families so that service members can continue to serve because it gives people a network.

LT. GEN. GWEN BINGHAM, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I couldn't be the ready soldier I was if my husband and my kids weren't cared for.

KEILAR: General Bingham, she's a trailblazer. You know, she is the second black woman to be a three-star general in the Army. She has so often been the first woman, the first African-American to do the job that she's doing.

BINGHAM: For every first that I made, there was someone else that came before me and plowed tough ground.

KEILAR: After 38 years, Lieutenant General Gwen Bingham retired from the Army, but she's not done serving. She's putting her experience and expertise to work as a board member for Blue Star Families.

KEILAR (on camera): Blue Star Families recognized that families of color were experiencing greater hardships than other military families. That's really where General Bingham stepped up. Blue Star Families tapped General Gwen Bingham to be the co-chair of this Racial Equity and Inclusion Initiative.

BINGHAM: What we are looking to do is to assess the needs of our military families of color and to get a sense for what their highs and their lows are.

KEILAR: They were reporting more financial distress.

BINGHAM: Military spouse employment continues to be a concern.

KEILAR: The Racial Equity and Inclusion Initiative has recruited a number of military spouses from military families of color and they're training them in how to really help make life better for military families.

BATES: This fellowship provides me with the first step, phenomenal mentors to work with us and teaching you just, from a leadership perspective, as a military spouse, how to position yourself to move forward and upward. This is life changing.

KEILAR: Policy making can be kind of boring sounding. But that's what change is. You know, taking challenges and problems and figuring out how to make solutions. That's what Charo is doing. And that's what many, many more people are going to be doing in the future.

BATES: Ultimately, I would love to be on The Hill making change on the policy side.

KEILAR: Hey, Fernando, can you please get me two plates?

I'm the mother of two children of color. And because their dad is in the military, they're more likely to join the military when they get older. You know, and I want to make sure that it is an inclusive place. That's why General Bingham is a champion of change because she wants to make sure that other people can have the same successes that she has had.

BATES: As someone who has fought as hard as she's fought and broken down the barriers that she's broken down, believes that you can do this too, then you can.

BINGHAM: I just feel a sense of wanting, a sense of desire to pay it forward or pay it back to the next generation that's up and coming.


KEILAR: Yes, this is -- it's an initiative that's kind of just been born, you know? It's sort of a new kid on the block, John, but I'm really excited about what they're doing because what's clear is that there's a huge need for this for military families.

BERMAN: Look, her story is inspiring and you're hardly a new kid on the block. You devote so much time and energy to this cause and I know it's super important to you.

I also know the cameo from Teddy and Antonio there, to die for. So nice to see their faces.

I only thought -- I thought there had to be dancing in all of these. You know, I thought we -- KEILAR: There was no dancing. And you don't want to see me dance,

quite frankly. Maybe sing, but I will spare you dancing. It is, like, Elaine from "Seinfeld," So, you do you, John Berman.

All right, we will continue to share these inspirational stories all week.


And you can be sure to tune in on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern for the "Champions for Change" one hour special. It's going to be fantastic.