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U.S. Health Officials Question AstraZeneca Vaccine Trial Data; Fauci: AstraZeneca Made "Unforced Error"; Regeneron's Antibody Drug Shows Promise in Trials; Police: Motive Still Unknown in Colorado Ramage that Killed 10; Facebook Shuts Down Social Media Accounts of Boulder Shooter; Source Says A.R.-15-Style Weapon Used in Mass Shooting; USPS Chief Calls for Longer Delivery Times, Cut in Post Office Hours. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 23, 2021 - 14:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Within hours of AstraZeneca releasing extraordinary trial results for its COVID-19 vaccine, an independent review board dictating trial safety expressed concerns about the announcement, saying the company offered an incomplete view by including outdated data.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says the vaccine still looks good, but AstraZeneca needs to figure their stuff out.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: It really is unfortunate that this happened. You know, this is really what you call an unforced error.

Because the fact is, this is very likely a very good vaccine, and this kind of thing does, as you say, do nothing but really cast some doubt about the vaccines and maybe contribute to the hesitancy. It was not necessary.


If you look at it, the data really are quite good. But when they put it into the press release, it wasn't completely accurate.


KEILAR: I want to talk to CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta about this.

OK, we know, Dr. Gupta, that the AstraZeneca vaccine, we may, in the U.S., not be taking this one so much because there will be other vaccines that came before it.

But there will be a lot of people in the world that are supposed to take this vaccine, could take this vaccine. Should they take it? DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the

data so far that we've seen from the company looked pretty good.

The problem here was that the data that they seemed to have presented wasn't complete. So, they were supposed to have done another Analysis of this data and presented that.

So this is sort of the issue that we sometimes have throughout this pandemic, Brianna, where we're getting information by press release.

So, I don't know that we can say for sure. But there's really no reason to believe that, as Dr. Fauci said, it couldn't still be a good vaccine.

The problem is this. And I think people would be naive to think it's not going to have an impact to hear that there was a trial that was paused for a period of time.

There was this concern about blood clots, which subsequently not shown to have an association with this vaccine.

And now this. This back and forth between an independent data monitoring board and AstraZeneca.

So, we'll have to see. I think the jury's still out. But I'm not -- I don't think people are sort of throwing in the towel on this.

KEILAR: So, just to be clear, that question of the blood clotting -- because there were researchers who were -- who wanted to know, hey, is this thing causing an autoimmune reaction that is especially affecting women younger than 55, causing blood clots.

Are you saying that once they looked at the data, once they compared a group of people who weren't taking the vaccine to the group of people who were, that actually it -- the parallels were pretty similar on blood clots?

GUPTA: Yes. That's basically it. I mean, you have to sort of think, just pre-pandemic, pre-any vaccines, there's a sort of, you know, a certain rate of people developing some of these medical problems.

And you're absolutely right, this was a clotting sort of disorder where you start to actually form blood clots in certain parts of the body. And that happens at a sort of background rate.

And what they do is they compare the rate at which this might typically happen to the population of people who have been vaccinated and see, is there a difference here?

And they really didn't find a difference. And that's why the World Health Organization and the European Medicine Association came out and said that we don't see an association here.

But again, you know, I think your question is a good one, which is just the people's confidence in this vaccine does start to erode a little bit after these -- after this steady drum beat of news about it.

KEILAR: They just want to feel safe, right? They have to have that feeling of safety about it and maybe this challenges that.

I want to talk about Regeneron. The company says its antibody coronavirus treatment can reduce hospitalizations, lower death, viral load, and symptoms at a lower dose level.

What does access to this look like, though?

GUPTA: This is -- this is an interesting story. This sort of surprises me.

The access -- we thought there would be a huge demand, I think, for these types of antibodies.

You're essentially giving the antibodies to somebody -- the same thing with the vaccine -- is basically causing your body to make antibodies. You can give those antibodies, and these are monoclonal antibodies. And they seem to work pretty well.

I mean, for people who are not yet hospitalized, have symptoms, not hospitalized, but at high risk, as you point out, 70 percent decreased likelihood of them being hospitalized, so needing to be hospitalized.

So that's pretty good and shortens the duration of symptoms overall.

But the usage hasn't really been that high. If you were somebody who was high-risk, had mild symptoms, you'd have to go to the hospital, get an infusion.

It's not cheap. Several hundred or even thousand dollars, you know, typically for this type of infusion. So that's sort of what we've known for some time.

What the Regeneron data now shows is that the dose that they had originally recommended, you could essentially get half that dose and still get those same benefits.

So we'll see. It's not like this is going to necessarily shore up a huge supply because there hasn't been a huge demand for it in the first place.

But I'm glad we're talking about it, because all the focus has been on the vaccines. We do have these other tools in the tool belt that can help someone who's at high risk and hasn't yet been vaccinated.

KEILAR: That's a good point because most people have not at this point in time been fully inoculated.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much. Great to see you.

GUPTA: You got it. You, too. Thank you.

KEILAR: Facebook just shut down the social media accounts belonging to the suspect in the Boulder, Colorado, mass shooting. And they have plans to remove even more content related to the shooter.


Stay with us.



GOV. JARED POLIS (D-CO): We sit here once again surrounded by seemingly incomprehensible, senseless loss.

There's a full investigation under way. The eyes of the nation are on Boulder. The eyes of the nation are on Colorado.

And every level of law enforcement, federal, state, and local, is working together to make sure that we can bring justice in this case.


KEILAR: That was the governor of Colorado speaking after yet another mass shooting in his state.

The victims are being remembered at the White House today as flags have been lowered to half-staff.

I want to bring in Juliette Kayyem. She is a CNN national security analyst and former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security.

Juliette, thank you so much for being here to talk about this.

Police don't have a motive yet. The suspect's brother, though, has said some things that are getting a lot of attention. He says that the shooter may have suffered from mental illness, that it sounds like there was some paranoid delusions.

And I'm wondering what investigators are going to be piecing together right now.


JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think all of it. And look, people do violent actions for multiple motivations as well. You know, it could be a combination of something triggered it. Did he lose a job? Plus, he has mental illness.

So we have this elusive search for the motivation. Sometimes we never find it, as happened with the Las Vegas killings. Sometimes people just do horrible things that are inexplicable.

So the investigation will want to look to motive.

However, both for the court case, he is a live suspect. And so you want him in jail for the rest of his life, and so in terms of what motivated him. And then whether there were any others involved. I mean, we simply just don't know at this stage.

So that's going to be where the investigation heads next.

KEILAR: And Facebook has shut down the suspect's account. So Facebook account, Instagram account. And also saying that they're going to take down any praise of the shooter that shows up on their platforms.

How important is that? What will that help stop? Is that potentially to stop copycats?

KAYYEM: Yes, yes. It's a horrible, horrible, disgusting world out there. And one of them is that these killers become sort of rock stars in the dark web. And they are sort of put up on pedestals. People follow them. They put things on to their Facebook accounts.

This was particularly true in previous cases. In fact, ironically and sadly, the Columbine killers, the two high school killers, were -- are still considered sort of cult status amongst a lot of these people that people go to their homes.

It's a perverse, perverse world out there. And so whatever Facebook can do to minimize the glorification of the killer is really important.

And also to monitor who else -- who's saying -- who's following him and who's applauding him and who's saying that they want to do the same thing.

KEILAR: Police haven't said the type of weapon exactly that the shooter used in this. But there's a certain law enforcement source who tells CNN that this was an A.R.-15-style weapon.

And we've seen the A.R.-15 or an A.R.-15-style weapon being used in multiple mass shootings.


KEILAR: Why is it that this keeps coming up over and over again in these incidents?

KAYYEM: Yes, and it's not just some -- some killings. Someone put all of them on Twitter: Boulder, Orlando, Parkland, Las Vegas, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Waffle House, San Bernardino, Odessa, Tree of Life Synagogue.

You can -- all the killers were different. They had different motivations. They had different mental health statuses.

They had one thing in common, and that's the A.R.-15. And why do they use it? Because it kills.

There's no living -- there's no injuries of those who were in the supermarket. They're dead. And that's why it's used. And so, when President Biden says we can be rational adults, we don't

have to be partisan and to get -- to get gun reform, it is because the only thing that ties all these mass killings together is weapons like the A.R.-15.

KEILAR: Yes. It's tragic.

Juliette, thank you so much. Juliette Kayyem.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

KEILAR: The U.S. Post Office just unveiled a new 10-year plan that gives a whole new meaning to snail mail. We'll explain how the controversial changes could make delivery times even longer.



KEILAR: The embattled head of the U.S. Postal Service is announcing a 10-year plan to turn around the troubled agency. Postmaster Louis DeJoy, a Trump holdover, has been under heavy Democratic criticism after slow delivery services during the 2020 election.

CNN's Kristen Holmes is joining us now.

What more can you tell us about this 10-year plan, Kristen?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, there's a lot to this. This is a sweeping plan, 58 pages. And it took them eight months to craft.

According to DeJoy, who spoke to reporters this morning, it is a holistic view. It will enhance their ability to be competitive and enhance their businesses.

But we're already hearing backlash, particularly from Democrats.

Here are the key components of this plan. One, reducing post office hours. This appeared to be in exchange, in some way, for not shutting down post offices, which was a big concern, especially in rural areas.

But no details on what that will look like, where it will happen. They said they would do an assessment.

Longer delivery times for first-class mail. This would be because they're shifting to no longer really using planes to transport mail but instead using ground service.

Meaning your service will take, instead one to three days, somewhere from three to six days.

Energy-efficient new vehicles, something the Biden administration has pushed for.

As well as creating new money-making services for businesses. It's called UPS Connect. And it sounds like UPS and FedEx connecting businesses with different areas as well as allowing people to interact with their mail carriers.

But as I said, Democrats are already pushing back on this and pushing back hard. One senior Democrat saying it is an unacceptable decision to make permanent slower mail delivery.

Moments ago, we heard from Jen Psaki, who said President Biden still has concerns over Louis DeJoy.

We know the president cannot fire DeJoy. He can only handle and work with the board, appoint new members to the board, and they can ultimately fire him.

But right now, of course, we don't see that happening -- Brianna?

KEILAR: All right, Kristen Holmes, thank you so much.


New developments in the investigation into the suspected Boulder mass shooter. What police found inside his home and what President Biden is calling for in the wake of this tragedy.