Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is 90% effective for ages 5 to 11, new data shows: 5 Things podcast

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children, being labelled and packaged at a European manufacturing facility.
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On today's episode of 5 Things: Is it worth any small risks to vaccinate younger children? Plus, experts speak out after the tragic movie set shooting in New Mexico, the Houston Astros make the World Series again, Clarence Thomas marks 30 years on the Supreme Court and a series of storms will drench the West.

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 Five Things You Need to Know Saturday, the 23rd of October, 2021. Today, the conversation around COVID-19 vaccines for younger children, plus new developments from the New Mexico film set where Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and more.

Taylor Wilson:

Here are some of the top headlines. China said yesterday that there's no room for compromise or concessions on the issue of Taiwan. The comments come after President Joe Biden said the US is committed to defending the island if it's attacked. A woman is suing Dr. Phil. She says the popular TV host pressured her to attend a rural ranch where she was allegedly sexually assaulted by a male staffer. And, world's biggest triceratop skeleton has sold for $7.7 million. It'll go to a private collector after sale at a Paris auction house.

Taylor Wilson:

After the CDC approved booster shots for all three authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the US, the agency and the FDA set their sights next on a new task, evaluating the safety of the Pfizer vaccine for kids aged five to 11. Over the next two weeks, the agencies will decide whether new data showing that the vaccine is 90% effective for the age group is convincing enough to justify authorizing it. Data out yesterday from Pfizer reported that only three children out of 1,500 who received the vaccine during the study later contracted COVID-19 and all three had mild symptoms with no severe cases or deaths. If authorized, the COVID-19 vaccine would be the first available to younger children. The same Pfizer vaccine has already been authorized for children aged 12 and older since May. Because children are unlikely to become severely ill from COVID-19 in general, experts say that vaccines have to be overly safe and have a significant impact on the pandemic to justify their use in this age group. Dr. Larry Kociolek, an infectious disease specialist at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago said that vaccinating younger kids can help society get back to normal.

Dr. Larry Kociolek:

People point out the rate of severe complications and death in children is much lower than adults. That's correct, but we know that children are not free from the harmful effects of this virus. Widespread community transmission is primarily the reason why schools aren't back to normal, why many sports don't look like what they looked like before the pandemic, and children we know can transmit this virus to other people in the community that are more vulnerable. Vaccinating children will be really important for us to be able to return to normal life as we know it, and to continue to protect everybody in our communities.

Taylor Wilson:

For more, stay with the live COVID updates page on usatoday.com. There are new developments to how a cinematographer died on set after actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed her this week. Halyna Hutchins is dead and director Joel Souza was also injured. According to court records out yet yesterday, an assistant director handed Baldwin a loaded weapon without knowing it and told him it was safe to use, but the gun was loaded with live rounds and Baldwin pulled the trigger. Investigators are still looking into how exactly that happened, but a film armory coordinator on other projects, Sam Dormer, told the AP what protocols with weapons on set are normally like.

Sam Dormer:

Now nowadays, all weapons are checked before any blanks have put into the weapon. There are lots of other protocols in place, including having to train beforehand, so the actor is competent with the weapon before they go on set. There would be rehearsals without the weapons, so the armory can assess any safety distances and beware where all the crew is before the weapon goes on the set. The blanks themselves are never loaded until the very last minute when all crew is in position, so the armory knows exactly where every member of the crew is, so that no one's walked through any danger areas where the arms are set up.

Taylor Wilson:

As for Baldwin, he tweeted about the incident yesterday and said he is cooperating with the investigation. No immediate charges have been filed and Baldwin is allowed to travel. One half of the World Series is set. The Houston Astros shutout the Boston Red Sox last night five to nothing to win the American League Championship Series in six games, even after initially falling behind two games to one. USA Today Sports Mackenzie Salmon looks at how they did it.

Mackenzie Salmon:

You know the stars, Bregman, Correa, Altuve, all have had their moments on offense, but it's been Michael Brantley, Yordan Alvarez, and Yuli Gurriel that have made this lineup unmatched. At any point in any inning, this lineup has the potential to blow the game wide open. The White Sox and the Red Sox found that out the hard way in the postseason. If you're not on your Ps and Qs as a pitcher, the game can get out of hand quickly with this lineup. They're that good, but of course, Houston can't win a title just by hitting the lights out. Lance McCullers has become a dominant ace. On night's he's pitching, the Astros can feel unbeatable, while the rest of the pitching staff has a boom or bust mentality, Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier have the talent to take over games. While many will want to hold onto the cheating scandal with this organization, there is no doubt anymore. This team is special and deserves this moment of redemption on the biggest stage, or go ahead and root against them, but don't be shocked when you end up on the losing bet.

Taylor Wilson:

Houston's trip to the Fall Classic is their third in five years, and they won it all in 2017, but that title has since become controversial since Major League Baseball found out they were using illegal technology to steal signs. Meanwhile, over in the National League, the Atlanta Braves are looking to make the World Series for the first time since 1999 and for their first title since 1995. They're up three games to two on the Los Angeles Dodgers as the series shifts back to Atlanta for game six tonight. The Dodgers are trying to make it back to the World Series after winning it all last year. You can tune in just after 8:00 PM Eastern, 5:00 Pacific on TBS.

Taylor Wilson:

Clarence Thomas is marking 30 years on the Supreme Court this weekend. Thomas became the second Black justice on the court in history when he was confirmed in 1991. His opinions have not changed much over the years and tend to follow a conservative, pretty strict interpretation of the Constitution. He made it to the high court after growing up in poverty in Georgia and then through Yale Law School. Nowadays, Thomas finds himself on the most conservative Supreme Court, possibly since the 1940s after President Donald Trump put three nominees on the court and justices will soon have some major decisions to make with abortion and guns on the docket in the coming months. Still, for many Americans, the 73 year old is best known for allegations that he sexually harassed Anita Hill, something he denied. The allegations came during his Senate confirmation hearings and decades before the Me Too movement sparked a cultural reckoning between men and women in the workplace.

Taylor Wilson:

A series of storms is expected to slam the West over the next few days. That includes one this weekend that's been deemed a bomb cyclone because of its strength. Meteorologists define a bomb cyclone as a rapidly strengthening storm with central pressure that drops by 24 millibars or more in 24 hours, a process known as bombogenesis. Elena [Coleen 00:08:20] looked into this phenomenon in a recent episode of Just the Facts.

Elena Coleen:

It may sound like something out of a sci-fi flick, but a bomb cyclone is more common than you might realize. Meteorologists say this type of winter storm forms through a process known as bombogenesis, which really doesn't make us feel much better, but it's not as bad as it sounds once you understand what's happening. A bomb cyclone is a storm that intensifies very rapidly. This typically happens when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass and a mid latitude cyclone occurs. As the cyclone intensifies and the systems pressure drops quickly in a short period of time, it becomes a bomb cyclone. Storm pressure is measured by millibars, the lower the millibars, the more powerful the storm. Storms regularly see drops of 10 to 15 millibars, but when pressure drops by 24 or more in less than 24 hours, you have yourself bombogenesis. Think of it as a winter hurricane, say a category one, that's often accompanied by strong winds, blizzard conditions, and rain or snow. As for the term bomb cyclone, We can thank retired professor Fred Sanders, who coined the phrase in a 1980 article.

Taylor Wilson:

This week's storms will hit areas from California to the Pacific Northwest, dropping both rain and snow. That's welcome news for drought slammed parts of the region. California in particular has seen some of the driest months on record this year, and some of the state's reservoirs are at historic lows going into the rainy season. According to the US Drought Monitor, nearly 92% of the Western US is in some level of drought. Thanks for listening to Five Things. You can find us seven days a week wherever you're listening right now, and a thanks as always to Shannon Green and Claire Thornton for their work on the show, and Claire's back tomorrow with the Sunday edition right here on this feed. I'll be back Monday with more of Five Things from USA Today.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Alec Baldwin, Pfizer effectiveness in kids 5 to 11, MLB World Series

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