Skip to main content

tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  August 23, 2021 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT

6:30 pm
unvaccinated tonight the move already leading to more vaccine mandates plus my interview with pfizer's ceo >> is this going to be a game-changer do you expect to see more people coming off the fence and getting these vaccines escape from afghanistan. chaotic scenes as many americans and our afghan allies still struggle to reach the airport with fears now about isis attacks and the new threat from the taliban after president biden says the u.s. might stay longer than that august 31st deadline plus the afghan refugee who gave birth after u.s. troops helped get her out the flooding disaster in tennessee. more than 20 dead. dozens still missing devastating scenes and heartbreaking loss children among those swept away we're on the ground. and in the northeast, tens of thousands are without power tonight after tropical storm henri and a rental rush. americans looking for a place to live now finding higher prices and fewer choices as they head back to work
6:31 pm
how you can save >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt good evening there is news tonight that officials hope will get many cautious and reluctant americans off the fence and to covid vaccination centers. pfizer today granted full fda approval for its vaccine. the hope now is that americans who have been waiting for a full fda sign-off will have the reason they need to roll up their sleeves. but the news is also strengthening the hands of companies and institutions that are moving to require workers and students in some cases to be fully vaccinated americans still playing catchup with a virus that infected 180,000 people just this past weekend and took almost 1,200 lives. miguel almaguer has details. >> reporter: expected but still historic today's full approval of pfizer's vaccine for people 16 and older marks another major milestone in the
6:32 pm
pandemic, coming 97 days after the fda began its official review the first covid vaccine to move beyond emergency use authorization. the new announcement expected to move the needle on future vaccinations >> those who have been waiting for full approval should go get your shot now. the vaccination is free it's easy, it's safe, and it's effective >> you're going to feel a little pinch, okay >> reporter: immediately following fda approval, a wave of public, private, and government employers announced they will now require staff to be vaccinated among them, the pentagon, affecting 1.4 million active-duty troops, with many more expected to follow suit today new york city's department of education says all 148,000 educators and staff will need to be at least partially vaccinated by the end of next month. >> now we're already seeing a slew of organizations starting
6:33 pm
to require it, and i think this is going to be a trend, and it's going to be a good trend. >> reporter: with the university of virginia disenrolling hundreds of students who failed to get vaccinated, the fda's full approval will strengthen legal standing and perhaps bolster inoculation rates. >> i hope and pray that today goes down in american history as a real turning point in the covid pandemic. >> reporter: still, despite what doctors say, many are not convinced. >> i'm hesitant because i feel like it's still new, and, you know, it just was approved today so i'm a still a little iffy on it. >> reporter: hoping to build confidence, the fda followed some 20,000 pfizer vaccine recipients, reviewing data for at least six months there were some common side effects the vaccine proving to be 91% effective the fda review process taking less than half the normal amount of time >> i think if you go through all of the information that was posted summarizing what fda did, you'll see that there were no corners cut. >> reporter: tonight, full approval for
6:34 pm
those who may not be fully confident. >> miguel, it's obviously been a big day for pfizer what do we know about moderna and j&j, when they might get >> reporter: lester, the fda is still reviewing da moderna. experts believe it will be approved but that's likely weeks away johnson & johnson is expected to soon apply for approval we should also note tonight vaccination rates especially in hard-hit states is quickly growing. lester >> all right miguel, thank you. earlier, i spoke to the ceo of pfizer, albert bourla, about what message today's approval should send to those who have questioned the approval process this is the fastest approval the fda has conducted on a drug. you'll recall the speed was one of the things that worried some people who were cautious and hesitant. they thought this process is moving way too fast what do you say to those folks now? >> i think for those people that they were a little bit reluctant because they wanted to see full approval. now they have the full confirmation of one of
6:35 pm
the most respected agencies in the world, the fda. that the product, the vaccine, is effective and safe >> talk if you can for a moment about the safety what have you learned about serious side effects in this vaccine? >> they are very rare. there are side effects, and some of them serious but they are very, very rare. >> and what can you tell us about the effectiveness of the drug we know it was 95% guarding against infection back in those initial trials now down to 91%. is this a one-way trip downward for this vaccine? >> well, we realized through the real-world data that after several months, there is a need for a booster because that will continue providing you the high level of efficacy that you observed after -- immediately after the second dose. >> as you know, we're seeing a lot of companies and institutions right now moving toward mandating that their employees or their students get the vaccine. does pfizer expect to
6:36 pm
require and mandate its employees become fully vaccinated >> we have asked our employees that they should be fully vaccinated or taking twice a week the test. but, you know, we have approximately 90% of our people already vaccinated, fully vaccinated. >> do you anticipate or maybe stay up at night thinking about the possibility you're going to have to go back in the lab at some point and come up with something better? >> oh yes, and we do that constantly. we are making right now a specialized vaccine for delta. i'm almost certain that we will not need it because booster shot of the current vaccine is very, very, very effective against delta. but we cannot take that chance. >> on vaccines for younger children, mr. bourla told me he expects the company's vaccine studies on children between 5 and 11 in age will be completed in september. let's turn now to the crisis in afghanistan where there were violent clashes outside the airport in kabul today with the u.s. now
6:37 pm
sending in helicopters and special forces to help more americans get out. our matt bradley now with the latest. >> reporter: chaos at kabul's airport. a crush of thousands desperate to get out 20 people were killed around the airport in the last week, including 1 overnight during a deadly firefight involving u.s. forces. after president biden announced the acceleration of evacuations ahead of the august 31st deadline the taliban is calling that a red line, saying there will be consequences if troops stay longer. the u.s. embassy, which has moved to the airport, now telling those who aren't eligible for evacuation to stay away >> if you do not have approval for a flight, you should leave the area surrounding the airport immediately. >> reporter: the taliban, known for its brutality and misogyny, releasing its own images of forces patrolling the streets of kabul and what it says are girls going to school. but the clock is
6:38 pm
ticking for international troops trying to get people out. 26 countries are helping in the effort, getting nearly 17,000 evacuees to 8 transport hubs, including 1 at germany's ramstein air base these people have been through a massive ordeal many of them are american citizens and some of them are very angry. they say they've been abandoned by the u.s. government kabir muhammad shirzaye is a u.s. citizen who was living in afghanistan. >> i'm completely angry because they could have managed this much better way >> reporter: on one evacuation flight, a glimmer of hope. an afghan refugee went into labor, giving birth on the tarmac. >> she was understandably quite scared i was just trying to be like eye contact. you got this, mama, and trying to reassure her the team here knew what they were doing and she had landed safely in germany. >> reporter: a moment of humanity amid so much anguish >> matt, what does the
6:39 pm
backlog look like where you are in germany? >> reporter: well, just to give you a sense, lester, 39 flights loaded with evacuees have landed here, and so far, only 2 have taken off as you know, commercial flights are part of this effort. we've seen delta and united jets on the tarmac, and at least one of those has landed this afternoon at dulles airport. lester >> matt, thank you as you heard, the u.s. could be on a collision course with the taliban over that american withdrawal deadline just eight days from now, as president biden faces growing pressure to do more to get stranded americans out. our geoff bennett now at the white house >> reporter: tonight, president biden ignoring shouted questions from reporters on afghanistan as he faces a new showdown with the taliban the group now threatening consequences if u.s. forces stay past august 31st, which the president suggested sunday >> our hope is we will not have to extend, but there are going to be discussions, i suspect, on how far
6:40 pm
along we are in the process. >> reporter: the administration is still relying on the taliban to allow stranded americans to get to the airport while the u.s. state department is warning about the danger a new cable obtained by nbc news says afghan staff at the u.s. embassy were assaulted by the taliban on their way to the airport some hospitalized. republican critics say president biden should be tougher on the taliban. >> i think that president biden is timid and fearful of the taliban, and if they want to attack our people at that airport, we have more than enough combat power in the united states military to fight back. >> reporter: a new nbc news poll showing just 25% of americans approve of the president's handling of afghanistan while 60% disapprove the white house tonight touting a turnaround in the evacuation effort. 48,000 people air lifted out since august 14th. and the president defending his decision to end the 20-year war. >> i think that history is going to
6:41 pm
record this was the logical, rational, and right decision to make >> reporter: tomorrow, president biden will meet virtually with g7 leaders to discuss the afghanistan withdrawal british prime minister boris johnson is expected to urge the president to extend the evacuation deadline lester? >> geoff bennett at the white house, thank you. in just 60 seconds, the search for survivors after devastating floods in tennessee. and the growing covid threat at nursing homes. with the pfizer vaccine fully approved, will more workers now get the shot
6:42 pm
more than 20 people were killed by the devastating and quickly rising floodwaters in tennessee. and with dozens still missing, there is reason to fear the death toll could get even higher. sam brock now on the desperate search >> reporter: tonight, the city of waverly is in a state of shock. >> i mean, there's people that their whole lives are gone. >> look at that. >> reporter: floodwaters carried away homes, upended businesses and stole precious human life,
6:43 pm
including infant twins riley and ryan, two of the 21 confirmed deaths with dozens of loved ones still missing. >> we're going to be overwhelmed for the next probably 30 days at least, overwhelmed. >> reporter: caleb mccore chased after his family in a boat but couldn't reach his 2-year-old stepson, who was clinging to his mom. >> she had him in her arms whenever he got swept away i couldn't get back to him, but she managed to save our other four children if it wasn't for her, i wouldn't have any children right now. >> reporter: some survivors shaken to their core >> i was in the house by myself. he was stuck up there, and i -- i've never seen anything like it. all i can think is how am i going to get out of here? >> reporter: others seeking refuge atop of janet rice's rooftop rescued by helicopter as conditions deteriorated you hear the term "buckled roads" all the time, but what does that actually look like in practice?
6:44 pm
something like this. asphalt ripped up, concave holes here near this bridge indescribable physical damage to match the emotional toll even with the broken hearts, a gift from seemingly out of nowhere. >> thank you >> reporter: family pictures recovered miles away a reminder of love in the middle of disaster >> sam, where does the search and rescue operation go from here >> reporter: lester, the focus has now shifted to a creek running right through the city whose waters were so violent, it pulled houses right off of their foundations and sheds down to the embankment now that the waters have receded a little bit, crews can turn over some of the heavy debris and look for victims. lester >> what a grim and heart breaking operation there. brock, thanks. in parts of the northeast tonight, flooding is still a threat the remnants of tropical storm henri brought more heavy rain today utility crews are working to restore power to thousands of homes and businesses, most of them in rhode island where the storm
6:45 pm
made landfall yesterday. long-term care facilities in the u.s. are once again experiencing a rise in covid cases. as part of the push to stop the spread and get more americans vaccinated, the federal government is developing regulations that would require vaccines for all nursing home employees. catie beck explains. >> reporter: sissy sanders worries day and night that her mother will contract covid in her texas nursing home, where a quarter of staff members are unvaccinated. >> there's no way you can social distance with a resident. you are changing them. you're feeding them. you're helping them brush their teeth. >> reporter: over a three-week period, covid cases in nursing homes across the u.s. have skyrocketed 142%. the national staff vaccination rate is 60%. sanders fears lockdowns are next can you go through that again >> no, i can't go through that again but more importantly, the people who can't go through it again are the residents. >> reporter: president
6:46 pm
biden's recent pledge to mandate vaccines for staff in care facilities will impact nearly 15,000 nursing homes, including the one where sissy sanders' mother lives. while that facility's parent company doesn't have a mandate, it says it has made staff vaccination a priority scott crabtree, who runs the lambeth house care facility in new orleans, put in a vaccine mandate last fall did you have any hesitations about losing your staff? >> not really. you know, we made that decision because it was the right decision. >> reporter: while ten staff members quit over the policy, some have since returned, vaccinated the facility hasn't seen a single resident covid case in 17 months >> they deserve to have the best quality of life at the end of life possible. vaccine is it. >> reporter: some say a vaccine mandate should apply to the whole health care industry, not just nursing homes. dr. david gifford is the chief medical officer for the american health care association. do you worry if people
6:47 pm
are unvaccinated, that they'll leave nursing homes and just go to a different type of facility >> yeah. you know, there's a lot of hesitancy, and if we can't get enough workers, it will be very hard to care for the residents. >> reporter: sanders fears the return of dark days, when families were forced to say good-bye to isolated loved ones. >> i'm not going to be that person. i'm not going to let that happen to my mom. >> reporter: catie beck, nbc news, austin, texas. we're back in a moment with what's driving up the cost of renting apartments and tell you how to save
6:48 pm
6:49 pm
6:50 pm
6:51 pm
as people begin returning to the office, many are heading back to cities and discovering that finding an affordable place to live has gotten harder. stephanie ruhle now with the skyrocketing rents in tonight's "price you pay." >> reporter: across the country, rents are rising as employers tell employees it's time to go back to the office. >> i have a return to the office coming in september. >> reporter: sasha mankofski left new york city at the start of the pandemic to work remotely from a farmhouse in rural iowa but now it's back to the city >> by the time that i was looking to move back, i saw an uptick in the price, and that's why i returned a little bit earlier to start looking, because i was anticipating a lot of people were doing the same thing >> reporter: and it's not just new york. in washington, d.c., before vaccines became available, rent was down 12%
6:52 pm
now it's only 3% and in miami, rents are now higher than pre-pandemic levels. there are exceptions on the west coast, where the big tech companies are delaying return to office, rents are still lower. san francisco down 20%. seattle, 9%. but in some cities like austin, moving companies like blue whale have seen an increase in transplants saturating the market. >> where are people moving from? >> we're seeing people move to austin from all over the country. >> reporter: while that may be good for business, it's not great for renters. so what can you do if you're in the market for a new place to live experts say have your paperwork in order so if you see something in your price range you like, you can make a move in a hot market, you have to act fast if you need to hire movers, ask for an off-peak delivery time to save money and always be flexible stephanie ruhle, nbc news when we come back, we'll share a message of hope for afghan refugees that's "inspiring america."
6:53 pm
6:54 pm
6:55 pm
6:56 pm
finally, echos of a not so distant past. evacuations and hope afghanistan now, vietnam then for some, the parallels are personal here's vicky nguyen. >> reporter: refugees risking it all afghanistan now and vietnam 46 years ago crowded flights, desperate families, daunting uncertainty. >> vietnamese- americans all over the country are speaking up and trying to humanize this for others >> reporter: min tu pham was just 3 when her family fled communist vietnam and settled in knoxville,
6:57 pm
tennessee. my family did the same, beginning a new life in eugene, oregon, before my second birthday. your family, like my family, didn't leave vietnam until years after '75 and the fall of saigon. what do you say to afghans about the possibility that if they don't get out in the first wave >> millions of us around the world are watching, and our hearts go out to them. so many people are working behind the scenes to do as much as they can to get them out safely. >> reporter: she's one of them, working with pivot, a vietnamese-american nonprofit calling on the u.s. and its allies to accept afghan refugees. >> let's just remember that america is a nation of immigrants refugees in the long run have been able to support and contribute so much to this country. google, chobani, you know, paypal -- all of those are started by refugees, and that created hundreds of thousands of jobs. >> reporter: joseph azam's family escaped afghanistan nearly 40 years ago. he says the support of the vietnamese-american community comes at a pivotal moment. >> it's heartening
6:58 pm
it's reassuring. it's needed. >> reporter: he's now afghan-american e foundation. >> hope is what we've run on for a really long time. and so i have no doubt that it will continue to fuel people >> reporter: refugees from afghanistan and vietnam bound by these defining moments and fighting for their future vicky nguyen, nbc news. >> out of the chaos, their story now part of the american story. that's "nightly news" for this monday. thank you for watching, everyone i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each other. good night
6:59 pm
7:00 pm
it's an important moment in our fight against the pandemic. >> right now on nbc bay area news tonight, pfizer's vaccine given full approval. is this enough to convince people on the fence about finally getting those shots. also, will governor newsom be recalled? the votes are starting to come in, we have early ballot returns and some betting odds. and you might want to change your plans for lake tahoe. we're on the fire lines. and why the silicon valley is keeping a close eyeon

97 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on