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Moderna to FDA, Vaccine is Safe and Ready for Children Under Six; U.S Economic Growth Rate Slowed Sharply in First Quarter; CNN Reports, Giuliani to Appear Before January 6th Committee Next Month. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 28, 2022 - 08:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Major breaking medical news this morning, up until now the one hole in the vaccine protection blanket in the United States has been for children five years old and younger. They couldn't get them, leaving many parents, Brianna Keilar, frustrated.

But, that might be about to change. The major announcement that Moderna is seeking emergency use authorization from the FDA for its COVID vaccine for children ages six months to six years old.

Joining me now is Moderna's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul Burton. Dr. Burton, thank you for being with us.

What did your testing find?

DR. PAUL BURTON, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, MODERNA: So, John, good morning. Look, these are exciting results, I think, and an important day for us. When we looked at these children, and we had 7,000 of them in this study, first of all, we looked at safety. As a dad, as a physician, that is obviously what we always want to look at first, particularly in this very young group.

The safety was very reassuring, exactly what we have seen in older kids and other populations, some injection site pain, a little bit of fever, but no excess risk of high fever. So, that was really reassuring. And then, John, when we look at antibody levels, we wanted to see levels that were similar to what we found in young adults, those 18 to 24. And that's exactly what we found.

So, overall, I think this is a very reassuring result and good news. BERMAN: People should know we're talking about a quarter dose here, essentially, compared to the adult dose, both the first and second dose.

You talk about antibody production, but in terms of efficacy against symptomatic COVID, ages six months to two years old, 51 percent efficacy, two to five-year-olds old, 37 percent efficacy. That doesn't seem very high, Doctor.

BURTON: Yes. So these are numbers that are lower than we typically expect in our Moderna COVID trials. Often, we see 90, 95 percent efficacy. But I think a couple of important things. First of all, this was a trial that was done really during a time of complete omicron predominance. And we know that there is more escape of that variant to vaccines. The number that we see here is actually exactly what we would see in adults as well at some time after their second dose. It was completely expected.

That number is still really very positive. It means that you can reduce the risk of getting symptomatic COVID by about half. That's a big reduction.

BERMAN: In fact, it is. When you're talking about many more young children who were being infected with omicron, what about severe illness, which is something we have taken to talking about among adults? Were you able to ascertain anything in your studies there?

BURTON: No. So, John, we did not have a large number of hospitalizations and, thankfully, no deaths in this study.


So, we can't get a good estimate about protection against severe disease in these youngest, smallest children.

But I think that's where we go back to the antibody data, because we know that that kind of level of antibody production in young adults, even in older children and certainly in older adults, gives great protection against severe disease and hospitalization, which obviously counts so much.

So, again, I think we have to take the totality of data, the safety, the antibody and the effectiveness.

BERMAN: I know this is not totally up to you, do you have a sense of a timetable now of when parents of young kids can have these shots available?

BURTON: And so we've submitted here in the United States, we'll be submitting to other major regulators around the world. I think regulators, the FDA, public health organizations, recognize the medical need here. They'll obviously do a very thorough review, as they always do. But I think there is a general feeling to move fast.

BERMAN: All right. Dr. Paul Burton, we appreciate you being with us. I know this news will come as a relief to a lot of parents. I appreciate it.

BURTON: Thank you, Jim.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: The latest GDP report just coming in, what the numbers say about the country's economic growth.

BERMAN: And will Donald Trump's former personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, cooperate when he appears before the House select committee investigating the January 6th Capitol attack? We have new CNN reporting, next.



BERMAN: All right. Important breaking economic news, the new GDP report on economic growth, if that's the right word here, let's get right to it, Matt Egan with the breakdown. Hey, Matt.

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: John, we've had a lot of weird economic numbers, and we just got another one. The U.S. economy contracted at an annual rate of 1.4 percent during the first quarter. This is the first contraction since the second quarter of 2020 when COVID turned the world upside down. Now, this is not that. As you can see, that was a contraction of 31 percent. This is a contraction of 1.4 percent.

If we zoom in, we can see that, you know, clearly, the economy has slowed down in the last few quarters. I think the key here is why that has happened. We shouldn't panic about these numbers because the weakness has been driven by some quirky components here. First of all, there is the fact that COVID was erupting again in the first quarter of this year. We had omicron that was causing all these disruptions. We also had the lapsing of some of the pandemic assistance, those two factors were called out by the government in this report that just came out.

A few other components here, the trade deficit blew out because the domestic economy can't produce enough goods to keep up with all the demand now. Businesses, they also didn't stock up on goods quite at the pace that they did in the fourth quarter. But here is a really key point here, the real driver of the economy is consumer spending. And that actually grew 2.7 percent pace. That is solid. It is actually a faster pace than the final three months of last year. That is a good sign. Business investment was solid too.

Another thing to keep in mind, this is a rearview-looking number. This was stuff that happened a few months ago. The market, economists, the Fed, they're all focused on what's happening in the spring and the summer, how the economy is holding up with inflation and also these Fed rate hikes.

BERMAN: Peculiar though to see a quarter where actually GDP is down. The market seems to like it though right now. I'm looking at green numbers here. EGAN: Yes, not a huge reaction from the market, the market was up before this, still up right now. Again, the market is probably not going to overly react to what looks like kind of a weird GDP report.

BERMAN: All right. Matt Egan, thank you very much for that. Brianna?

KEILAR: A key member of the Trump inner circle set to answer questions from the January 6th committee, sources telling CNN Rudy Giuliani is expected to appear before the House select committee next month.

CNN's Paula Reid is joining us now with her new reporting. I mean, the fact that he's even going to appear is pretty unbelievable. What are they hoping to learn from him?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Look, I've been reporting on this for months. I'm with you. I was a little bit surprised when we learned he's on the calendar. Now, lawmakers are, of course, targeting Giuliani because he served as former President Trump's personal attorney throughout much of his presidency and he was a central figure in Trump's failed bid to overturn the 2020 election.

That has taken months of negotiations to get this interview on the calendar, Giuliani's lawyers and lawmakers. They've been going back and forth about the scope of the subpoena that he received back in January and whether he could actually comply with some of their requests.

Now, the committee sent a letter along with that subpoena where they say Giuliani actively promoted claims of election fraud on behalf of the former president and sought to convince state legislators to take steps to overturn the election results.

It also says Giuliani was in contact with Trump and members of Congress regarding strategies for delaying or overturning the results of the 2020 election.

Now, sources familiar with these ongoing negotiations have previously told me that Giuliani may be willing to testify about claims of election fraud, but he does not intend to wave executive or attorney/client privilege. And it is unclear if the committee has agreed to honor Giuliani's concerns, but, of course, he can invoke those privilege protections in response to individual questions.

And his upcoming appearance, it comes as several high profile members of Trump's inner circle have voluntarily spoken with the committee, including his daughter, former Senior Adviser Ivanka Trump. She was interviewed for nearly eight hours earlier this month, and her husband, Jared Kushner, also met with the panel. And we've also learned that Donald Trump Jr. is expected to meet with the committee in the coming weeks.

KEILAR: Amazing. Even if all he does is talk about election fraud, that is -- that's an area that is ripe for even missteps by him. It will be fascinating.

REID: Absolutely. It's a really interesting move, but the alternative is potentially being held in contempt.

KEILAR: Very good point. Paula, thank you so much, great reporting.


The Ukrainian military says Russian forces are, quote, exerting intense fire on multiple fronts. We're going to have more on that. And overnight attacks in the east, in the Donetsk region.

BERMAN: And new this morning, Trevor Reed's mother, her son is back home in the United States, the journey it took to bring him home.


BERMAN: Efforts to ban certain books increasing across the country. School districts in 26 states have reportedly banned more than 1,000 books in the past nine months.

As attacks on these books escalate, librarians and authors are fighting back.

CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro has the story.


EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Melissa Hart's life is filled with young adult fiction. She writes Y.A. books from a small studio behind her house. She teaches other people to write Y.A. books.


She dresses up as a T-Rex and gives Y.A. books away.

MELISSA HART, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: This is where the magic happens.


Her latest title comes ought this fall.

HART: Daisy Woodward changes the world is about a 14-year-old, an eighth grade passionate track and field runner, who also is an amateur entomologist. And when she gets an assignment from her social studies teacher to change the world, she decides to help her older brother who has down syndrome fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a YouTube fashion celebrity. The problem is that their parents don't want him on social media. And if she can't help him fulfill his dream, she's failed him and her assignment.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: That sounds like a pretty teenage story. There's a lot going on in that book, but all right. Are you afraid it is going to get banned?

HART: I know it is going to get banned.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Why? HART: One of the main characters has two moms and that is representative of the type of book that is being banned now.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: These days, a lot of people speculate about the intent of authors and educators. It is a frustrating situation for people who actually do those jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are specific controversial and harmful topics making their way into our schools that just don't belong here.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: When you see a parent stand up at a school board meeting and say, these books are indoctrinating my kids, what do you see when you see that?

HART: I see somebody who is not looking at their kid's social media feeds, first and foremost. Books are not teaching kids to be a certain way. Books for kids are providing safe spaces for kids to explore their identity, and not just their identities.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: In 2019, Hart wrote a book for adults, it's a guide to finding inclusive books for kids. The idea came from the missing stories in her own childhood.

HART: I think that that representation is critical. I mean, I grew up not even aware that anybody besides me had two moms, because it wasn't in literature, it wasn't talked about.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Hart and her husband live with a lot of books, animals and their teenage daughter. We agreed not to show her face on camera.

Like most teenagers, she's plugged into the social media culture war, where adults are increasingly warning that teenage lives are becoming dangerously confused about identity.

What do you say to those people?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I say, obviously, you've grown up in a different world than we have. And, I mean, identify as non-binary, but I love all genders. I think they don't have the capability to understand us because they didn't grow up in our time. They don't know exactly what we're going through.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: This teenager is thinking of becoming a writer, not a surprise in a house like this one.

When she hears adults attack books, she hears an attack on kids like her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What else am I supposed to read? Like, obviously, they're supposed to read, but they should read about themselves. They should see themselves in the books that they read, and not just white people or straight people or cisgendered people, like look at yourself in a book.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: It seems like a pretty easy concept. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Why do you think it is so hard right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Adults, adults throwing temper tantrums.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The adults are not slowing down. More books are being challenged, and states are passing laws to make challenging books even easier.

HART: I refuse to give in. I refuse to surrender. I will fight the good fight. I will put on my inflatable T-Rex costume and fill the little free libraries in my community with diverse books until the cows come home.


KEILAR: Just making me think about how much I love books. And the whole point of books is that you can go places, and meet people, and see people who represent the community you live in or not, right, or not.

BERMAN: I was thinking the exact same thing, how much do I love books and what they represent in our society and our culture? And I just want people to think as this discussion goes on about the historical moments where books have been banned, or burnt, in our past, and what it all means.

KEILAR: Yes. Why be afraid of them? That's a thing about books. You can read them or you can choose not to. That's also an option. They don't have to be banned.

So, in moments here, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is going to meet face-to-face with the head of the U.N. after the secretary-general heard alarming news from Vladimir Putin.

BERMAN: Plus, history on board the International Space Station.

KEILAR: And a programming note, Stanley Tucci back with new episodes, new food and new discoveries.


Season 2 of Stanley Tucci, Searching for Italy, is going to premiere Sunday at 9:00 P.M. Eastern on CNN.


KEILAR: It is time now for the good stuff.

NASA's SpaceX Crew-4 is now aboard the International Space Station. They were greeted warmly in the station with hugs and handshakes by the Crew-3 team that they are replacing. And this is a group that includes Jessica Watkins, the first black woman to live and work in space for an extended period of time.

Crew-4's mission here began with a thrilling and successful launch from the Kennedy Space Center.


They rode a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket into orbit and they are slated to return in September. That's a long time, John.