Vaccinated Americans immune to worst of COVID, Biden's Jan. 6 speech: 5 Things podcast – USA TODAY

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On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Vaccinated Americans without risk factors immune to worst of virus
What are major risk factors? Plus, health reporter Elizabeth Weise updates us on what Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients should do on boosters, we recap President Joe Biden’s January 6 address to the American people, wellness reporter Sara Moniuszko talks about platonic life relationships and the East Coast braces for a bomb cyclone.
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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 5 Things you need to know Friday, the 7th of January, 2022. Today, boosters for the J&J vaccine. We’ll also look at platonic life partnerships and more.
Here are some of the top headlines:
COVID-19 cases continue to surge around the country, and that includes a huge number of vaccinated and even boosted Americans. But new data from the CDC shows that vaccinated Americans without risk factors are largely immune to the worst of the virus. A study of more than 1.2 million vaccinated people from December 2020 to October 2021 found that only people with at least one risk factor had severe outcomes or death from the virus. Even among those, the instances were only 1.5 out of every 10,000. All 36 participants who died had at least four risk factors, things like being 65 and older, or with immunosuppression or other underlying conditions. Those results underscore points by health officials that people under the age of 65, who are healthy and fully vaccinated have extremely high protection from COVID’s worst effects. One caveat, the study was done before the highly transmissible omicron variant took over the world, but also before widespread booster shots. 74% of Americans are at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19 and 62.4% are fully vaccinated.
Those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have had a bit of a different vaccination journey than the many Americans vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna. For starters, they only got one initial dose of the vaccine. And then as a booster, many have received a different brand. So how much protection is that booster giving? And when should they expect to get a third shot? Health reporter Elizabeth Weise has answers for the 16 million Americans who got J&J as their initial vaccine dose.
Elizabeth Weise:
Folks who got Johnson & Johnson, they’re in a bit of a bind because they get one shot of Johnson & Johnson and that counts as being fully vaccinated. And then they can get one booster after that. But what they keep hearing is all these other people who got three shots, they got two doses of either Moderna or Pfizer, and then they got a booster. And so they’re feeling like, so we’ve been hearing that the J&J vaccine isn’t quite as strong as Moderna or Pfizer, and we only get two shots? They want three shots. And as of now they can’t get them because the protocols don’t allow for that. And when they go in and try and get them, the pharmacies say, “Yeah. No, sorry.”
So I asked the guy at the Food and Drug Administration who’s in charge of that, and they are gathering data. And it’s a hard thing for FDA as well, because there aren’t that many people who got Johnson & Johnson, it’s about 16 million who got it as their first vaccine compared to 190 million who got either Pfizer or Moderna. And so there’s not as many people, there’s not as much data, and they do have to make their decisions based on data. They can’t just say, “Yeah, it seems like a really good idea. Sure, let’s do it.”
And so they’re collecting information. Dr. Mark of the FDA said that he thought, yeah, in the coming weeks or months, they would have enough to know about a third dose, but right now they just don’t. And so they can’t authorize it if they don’t have data that shows that it works and that it’s safe.
Taylor Wilson:
You can find Elizabeth’s full story by searching J&J on
President Joe Biden spoke to the American people yesterday on the anniversary of last year’s January 6th insurrection. He forcefully condemned former president Donald Trump for rallying his base to cast doubt on an election he fairly lost.
President Joe Biden:
One year ago today in this sacred place, democracy was attacked. Our democracy held. We, the people endured. We, the people prevailed. For the first time in our history, a president had not just lost an election, he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol. But they failed. They failed. And on this day of remembrance we must make sure that such an attack never, never happens again.
Taylor Wilson:
Congressional leaders also marked the date by holding a prayer vigil at the US Capitol. Bishop Michael Curry:
Bishop Michael Curry:
We come before you not in pride or arrogance, but we come before you in true humility. We come before you because we need your help. We need your help in these troubled times. We need your help for this beloved nation. We need your help for those who have been traumatized and troubled by the painful events of one year ago and all that has continued since. We need your help Lord now to be the democracy you would have us to be.
Taylor Wilson:
On January 6th, 2021 supporters of former president Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building to dispute presidential election votes as they were being counted. Five people died as a result of the attack and more than 700 people have been arrested and charged in the year since.
Some people are breaking the norms of relationships. They’re entering into a platonic life partnership, but what exactly does that mean? Wellness reporter Sara Moniuszko explains.
Sara Moniuszko:
So a platonic life partnership is a committed relationship to someone that doesn’t involve romance or sex. So the couples that I interviewed described it as essentially choosing to live your life and build your life together with your platonic best friend, as opposed to a romantic partner.
So from the people I spoke to it’s mainly because it makes them feel the happiest. They feel the most safe, the most secure, the most comfortable in these relationships. The people I spoke to already had a very deep platonic love for their partner and couldn’t see doing life without the other. And that includes things we typically think of for traditional romantic couples like buying a house together and raising kids together. They just said that it made sense to do it with this person that was already so important in their lives.
The people that I interviewed, they’re in this platonic partnership with their partner, but at least in these two couples that I spoke to they do have a dating life outside of their partnership. So of course that’ll be a case to case basis, but yeah, they’re in many senses breaking these societal relationship norms we have – be it heteronormative, monogamous – that we’re very used to in this society. And they’re breaking away with those old traditions.
I’ll just add that although this can be very confusing, it’s not, like I said, something very common in our society. I did also speak with a relationship expert who said that platonic partnerships can be just as successful as more traditional long-term romantic partnerships, because relationships are all based on shared values. So as long as people see eye to eye and have the same values and goals for the future, she saw no harm in pursuing these types of partnerships.
Taylor Wilson:
You can follow along with all of Sarah’s work on Twitter, check out a link in today’s episode description.
The East Coast is bracing for its second major winter storm in five days with a bomb cyclone expected to hit today. That refers to a storm whose central pressure drops 24 millibars in 24 hours. The Washington, D.C. area saw more than a foot of snow in some places earlier this week, and will again get about three inches today. That comes as part of the region continues to deal with power outages. Meanwhile, New England could get up to a foot of snow, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine. For more, head to
And as always, you can find new episodes of the 5 Things podcast wherever you like to find your audio. Thanks as always to PJ Elliot for his great work on the show, and I’m back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.


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