Pfizer boosters will be available to Americans 65 and older and those at high risk

·11 min read

On today's episode of 5 Things: Pfizer boosters will be available to millions of Americans, but Moderna and Johnson & Johnson aren't there yet. Plus, at least two people are dead after a Tennessee grocery store shooting, a bill to protect abortion rights is expected to clear the House, the Ryder Cup tees off and tech editor Brett Molina wonders if you really need a new iPhone.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning, I'm Taylor Wilson. And this is 5 Things you need to know, Friday, the 24th of September, 2021. Today, the latest from Memphis after a grocery store shooting. Plus, the CDC signs off on Pfizer booster shots, and more.

Taylor Wilson:

Here are some of the top headlines. A months-long hand recount in Arizona's largest county of Maricopa has again confirmed that president Joe Biden won the 2020 election. The report also indicates that former president, Donald Trump actually lost by a wider margin than the county's official election results. Kim Yo-jong, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said earlier today that her country is willing to resume talks with South Korea if conditions are met. The move indicates the country may want South Korea to nudge the United States to relax crippling economic sanctions. And one of the NFL's biggest early season surprises kept rolling last night. The Carolina Panthers smoked the Houston Texans 24-9 to improve to 3-0.

Taylor Wilson:

The CDC has officially endorsed COVID 19 booster shots for millions of Americans. They'll be available for people aged 65 and older, along with Americans who are at high risk because they're immunocompromised or due to their jobs. CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on a panel of experts recommendations to allow a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Walensky did go against the panel on one point. She said that people aged 18 to 64 can get a booster if they're healthcare workers or have another job that increases their risk of exposure to the virus. No one will need a doctor's note to walk into a pharmacy and request an additional dose. They'll instead have to decide for themselves whether a booster benefit outweighs any personal risk. Some committee members said they're worried that will add to confusion that many people already have when it comes to vaccines.

Taylor Wilson:

Those with two Pfizer doses will still be considered fully vaccinated, and committee members and CDC officials reiterated yesterday that most vaccinated Americans remain protected with the shots they've already received. More than 90% of those currently hospitalized with COVID 19 have not been vaccinated. The new booster shot endorsements only apply to the Pfizer vaccine. And an FDA doctor told the committee yesterday that there's still not enough research to say it's safe to get an initial dose of one vaccine before switching to another. Moderna has requested authorization for a lower dose of its initial vaccine to be used as a booster. The FDA is currently reviewing that and it could become available for boosters in the coming weeks. As for Johnson & Johnson, the company released data this week that a second dose on top of the initial single dose vaccination is safe and improves effectiveness, but it has not yet submitted a request to the government to authorize boosters.

Taylor Wilson:

A gunman killed at least one person and injured a dozen others at a Kroger store outside Memphis yesterday. The shooter in Collierville, Tennessee also died from what appeared to be a self inflicted gunshot wound. Terrified shoppers ran from the grocery store with gunshots heard inside, according to witnesses. Police afterwards found people hiding in freezers and locked offices. An employee at the store, Brignetta Dickerson, told reporters about the scene.

Brignetta Dickerson:

It first started in the deli. And I heard some gunshots. [inaudible 00:04:00]. So when it kept on going, I said, no, this is gunshots. So I ran. Some of my coworkers and some of the customers came and we ran. The police came and all of a sudden they started shooting. Well, he actually went back into the store and the cops just circled around, tried to check to see if anybody was okay. He came into where we were and said, we right here, we got four people shot. Which is actually three people were shot, because one just got cut in the eye with the asphalt. And they asked us, are we okay? I said, I'm fine. Then the lady that I was helping out, she was fine. Everybody was fine.

Taylor Wilson:

A spokesperson from a local hospital said at least four people are in critical condition. Police said 44 employees were inside the store when the shooting started. Kroger has nearly 3000 stores around the country and has attempted in recent years to minimize potential gun violence in its stores. The company announced in 2019 that it would prohibit the open carry of firearms in its stores.

Taylor Wilson:

A democratic bill to protect abortion rights around the country is expected to be approved in the House today, but it's not clear what would happen next in an only narrowly controlled Democratic Senate. Moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins already said this week that she opposes the bill because it goes too far and would weaken the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which prohibits the government from burdening the exercise of religion. The bill is a direct response to the Texas fetal heartbeat bill that took effect earlier this month after the Supreme Court declined to block its enforcement. That bill would effectively make abortions illegal in the state after just six weeks of pregnancy.

Taylor Wilson:

Well, it's team USA versus team Europe. Golf's Ryder Cup is here. The tournament comes once every two years and uses Match Play rules to decide a winning team. Match Play is when a player or team earns a point on each hole that they beat their opponent. Team captains choose some of the players and others qualify based on recent performances. This year's captains are Pádraig Harrington for Europe and Steve Stricker for the United States, featuring teams of 12 players each. The cup is taking place at Whistling Straits outside Sheboygan, Wisconsin. And there will be fans in attendance after the tournament was postponed an entire year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Dirk Willis, the VP of Global Golf, Retail & Landscape for the Kohler company, which owns the course, told our Golfweek Raider podcast about the decision to push the tournament a year back.

Dirk Willis:

In the end, it was definitely for the best obviously. It was the right thing, not only for us, but for the event to postpone it. Because really, the Ryder Cup is not the Ryder Cup without the fans. And I think it was collectively ourselves along with the PGA of America and all the major constituencies that were involved in organizing the event wanted to make sure fans were part of that equation. So when the pandemic hit, we were obviously very well along in those preparations. We had not started construction on the golf course yet though, as far as the temporary construction has to go into all the hospitality areas. And we held off on that start of construction as long as we could, until we were sure that we could either execute the event in 2020 or we would have to postpone.

Dirk Willis:

So fortunately we didn't get too far down the road with that. We were able to make that decision before we actually had to start to build. With the postponement, other things really came more factored into that. There was the fear that we'd have lost ticket sales and lost corporate hospitality sales. The actuality of what happened though is that the fans, the ticket holders and the corporate hospitality patrons all stuck by us and believed in the event and were open to the postponement. So we really didn't have a huge uphill battle after the postponement in making sure that we had a well attended event. So it's kind of a best case scenario I think.

Taylor Wilson:

As for the golf, Team Europe has dominated in recent years, winning seven of the last nine Ryder Cups, including the 2018 edition, though the US grabbed the 2016 title. You can tune into the tournament through Sunday on Golf Channel and NBC.

Taylor Wilson:

iPhone 13 begins shipping today. And with it, the 13 mini, 13 pro, and 13 Pro Max. The phones come with brighter displays, camera improvements and longer battery life. But do you really need to upgrade to a new model? Money tech editor Brett Molina asks that question.

Brett Molina:

Your old iPhone is still pretty good, and that's credit to Apple because a lot of these newer smartphones have a much longer shelf life than the ones we're used to from years ago. And if you're just looking for a smartphone that gives you basic stuff like your email, social media, games, you want a camera just for taking family pics, some of those older iPhone models still hold up really well. Last year I got an iPhone 12 mini and before that I had an iPhone 7. I had that iPhone 7 for probably four year years or so before I actually exchanged it. So a lot of those phones last a while. And honestly, I would've been okay holding onto that iPhone 7 maybe for another year or so. They last a lot longer and you can still get a lot out of them.

Brett Molina:

Another reason involves replacing the battery. Over time as you use your smartphone, your battery degrades. And what happens as a result is that the performance on your smartphone gets worse. So you'll notice that by things like your phone gets slower. Fortunately, you can update the battery. If you go to Apple's website, they charge $49 to replace batteries on devices that range from the iPhone 6 to the second generation iPhone SE. Now if you own an iPhone X or later it $69. And of course as those phones age and they get older and we start seeing newer phones, those phones like the iPhone extra later are going to get older and that price is going to go down. And again, getting a new battery gives your iPhone almost a second life. And it's a lot cheaper than getting a new iPhone. You're talking $50 to $70. That's a bargain compared to having to plunk down money for a brand new iPhone.

Brett Molina:

Now, it's Monday, which means we're going to see iOS 15 today. And that's another reason to hold onto an older iPhone. If you own an iPhone that's a 6s or later, you can still download iOS 15. So if you have that 6s or maybe a 7, you can still get the latest software update. And that means you're still going to get a lot of the new features that Apple has announced, including focus mode, if you want to manage your notifications, other updates to other apps. The thing to keep in mind though, is you're not going to get every single feature. There are some features that work on the newer models only, and there are some that aren't going to be available on those older phones. But again, if you're just looking to say save money and you don't need the latest and greatest features, you're still going to be just fine.

Brett Molina:

Now, you might also like some of the features of those older phones. One thing I miss about my iPhone 7 is the fact that it had a home button. And I loved using touch ID. It was really easy. You just put your thumb over the home button. You could log into your phone. You could log into accounts on your apps. It was really simple. It's also good too if you don't like the big touch screens. I've talked about this before. The 6s, for example, has a 4.7 inch touch screen. Now you could get an SE and still have that same touch screen, but again, your older phone is still pretty capable. Another thing to consider too is the environment. We've seen a big rise in electronic waste. According to a UN report from a couple years ago, the world produces as much as 50 million tons of electronic intellectual waste.

Taylor Wilson:

For more from the world of tech, check out the Talking Tech podcast. And you can find 5 Things every morning, seven days a week right here, wherever you're listening right now. Thanks as always to Shannon Green and Claire Thornton for the great work on the show. And I'll be back tomorrow with another edition of 5 Things from the USA Today Network.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Healthcare providers and other high risk workers can get COVID booster

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