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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 8/18/21

Guests: Peter Hotez, Olivia Troy, Tommy Vietor, Sarah Chayes, Nasrin Nawa, Francis Collins


The United States is lagging behind other countries in vaccination. Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday suggested that vaccine booster shots aren`t medically necessary and instead are being pushed by pharmaceutical companies purely for profit. Thousands of people in Afghanistan are desperate to flee as the Taliban takes control of the country. Texas school district makes masks part of the dress code to get around Gov. Abbott`s ban on mask mandates. CDC recommends booster shots for all adults eight months after the second dose.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: -- absolute worst. And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.


MEHDI HASAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN. A White House mired in a foreign policy fiasco announces a new offensive against the coronavirus pandemic.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Eight months after your second shot, get a booster shot.

HASAN: Tonight, what Biden`s booster announcement means for you with Dr. Francis Collins from the NIH. And as the Delta surge continues, how the leader of pro-COVID Republicans is undermining public health yet again.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know what that sounds to me like a money-making operation for Pfizer.

HASAN: Then, more desperate pleas for help as evacuation efforts in Afghanistan increase. And what the American military is now saying about the Afghan government`s collapse.

GEN. MIKE MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: There was nothing that I or anyone else saw that indicated a collapse of this army in this government in 11 days.

HASAN: ALL IN starts now.


HASAN (on camera): Good evening from Washington D.C. I`m Mehdi Hasan in for Chris Hayes. We are never going to get through this pandemic if a significant chunk of the population continues to refuse to get vaccinated. This spring, the United States was leading the world in vaccinations. No large country was even close. Now, they`ve all overtaken the U.S.

Here`s a list of just some of the countries with a higher percent of the population that is fully vaccinated. Chile, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and China, which has a billion people more than the U.S.

You know what category we are back near the top then? Deaths. We are averaging nearly 700 deaths per day over the last two weeks, a 52 percent increase over that time, trailing only Indonesia, Brazil and Russia. So, today as the Biden administration is trying to get us out of this pandemic, they rolled out a new recommendation saying that everyone who got a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine should get a third shot.

The boosters will begin at the end of September, and people should get it eight months after their second shot. The goal is to reinforce the vaccines and continue to keep people safe. But there is a big chunk of the population which has no interest in listening to Joe Biden or to the CDC or to public health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci or Dr. Francis Collins, who will be joining me later on the show tonight.

They only want to hear from one man, their messiah, their beloved former President Donald J. Trump. And what they are hearing from him is not helping. On the day, the Biden administration announced a third shot, the former president, the guy who put us in this position by downplaying the severity of the virus despite knowing the threat, by treating it as a public relations problem instead of a public health crisis, that guy went on Fox Business and just undermined the latest attempts to keep people safe.


MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK HOST: I still come back to the idea of a booster shot. I mean, yes, you`re right. That seems work. We`ve seen that.

TRUMP: Well, that sounds to me like money-making -- that sounds -- you know what, that sounds to me like a money-making operation for Pfizer, OK. Think of the money involved. And that`s tens of billions of dollars. How good a business is that? If you`re a pure businessman, you say, you know what, let`s give him another shot. That`s another $10 billion of money coming in. The whole thing is just crazy. It doesn`t -- you wouldn`t think you would need a booster.

You know, when these first came out, they were good for life. Then, they were good for a year or two. And I could see the writing on the wall. I could see the dollar signs in their eyes of that guy that runs Pfizer. You know, the guy that announced the day after the election that he had the vaccine. But we knew that and I knew that and the people knew that.

BARTIROMO: Yes, he announced that November 9. You`re right, a few days after the election.

TRUMP: Yes, right after the election.


HASAN: On the day that the Biden administration is trying to convince millions of Americans to get a third shot to save lives, Donald Trump goes on Fox to talk about how the booster is a scam. Now, credit where credit is due. Just moments earlier in that interview, Trump was saying people who get the vaccine get better much quicker and do not get nearly as sick as those who don`t get it, which is true, and it`s great. He said it.

But we need so much more than that because he then immediately undercuts it with what you just heard. It`s the absolute height of irresponsibility, the former president of the United States undermining confidence in the booster.

Last week, the Daily Beast reported that Trump had repeatedly rejected requests from his own allies that he`d go out and campaign for his supporters to get vaccinated. It`s one thing for him to soak in his tacky vacation home and refused to help, but it`s another for him to actively spread lies that will cause people to get sick and die.


Remember, this is a guy who got vaccinated in private in secret. Every other living president did it publicly. And together they publicly campaign for others to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, in July, Trump issued one of his bizarre and false Twitter statements saying, "People are refusing to take the vaccine because they don`t trust Biden administration, they don`t trust the election results, and they certainly don`t trust the fake news which is refusing to tell the truth.

He`s indulging anti-vaxxers and his supporters take notice. Donald Trump is not just a twice impeached Florida retiree, as speaker Nancy Pelosi`s office once called him, whether we like it or not, he is still the de facto leader of the Republican Party. And all of the mini Trump`s in office, they still take their cues from him.

There`s a reason why Republican governors like Ron DeSantis, and Greg Abbott, and Kristi Noem do not care about COVID in their state. And it`s not because there`s some kind of ideological anti-vaxxers or anti-maskers. No. It`s because they believe that taking the Trumpian road will lead them to the White House in 2024.

Trump`s talking points are what get delivered to his base, even if he`s not the one always saying the words. This is what Fox News` Brian Kilmeade said just this morning.


BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR: Guess what they`re doing in this terribly run city. They are deciding you can`t go to plays, you can`t go to movies, you can`t go to bars, you can`t go to restaurants, you can`t go to gyms, you can`t go to anything unless you have your vaccination cards which takes $1.00 to make a knock off course.

If you have the antibodies, and what if you can`t get the vaccination, you have to shelter in place now like an American in Afghanistan?


HASAN: Yes, Brian, what an accurate comparison. Look, people who do not get vaccinated are a public health risk. And so, it is in everyone`s interest, Democrat, Republican, independent, whatever, to get vaccinated and encourage everyone else to do the same. Donald Trump has the ability to save millions of lives and he will not do it. Millions of Americans who follow his lead are not taking the vaccine and risking their own lives and the rest of ours. It`s unforgivable and it`s on Trump.

Dr. Peter Hotez is the co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children`s Hospital. He`s the Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and he`s the author of preventing the next pandemic vaccine diplomacy in a time of anti-science. Olivia Troye is a former adviser to Vice President Mike Pence where she worked on the White House Coronavirus Task Force. She`s now a director of the Republican Accountability Project.

Thank you both for joining me this evening. Dr. Hotez, let me start with you. Tell me about this new booster shot that Trump thinks is a scam. Why do we need it and why are we finding out about it now?

PETER HOTEZ, CO-DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT AT TEXAS CHILDREN`S HOSPITAL: Well, you know, Mehdi, many of us have thought from day one, this was going to be a three-dose vaccine. And I would imagine, if the president were in meetings back in 2020, he might have realized that as well.

And the reason is this. You know, those clinical trials were done with vaccines with the Pfizer, and Moderna vaccine, each space three and four weeks apart, respectively. And we did that because there was an urgency. We were losing 3000 American lives per day. We had to get antibody responses, virus-neutralizing antibodies into people as rapidly as possible and we did it and it was very successful. And we save thousands and thousands of lives by doing that.

The only problem with it is when you give those first two doses so close together, it`s not the best for inducing long-lasting protection. So, when we saw that vaccine schedule come out, my first thought was, OK, we`re going to need a booster later on. I don`t know if it`s going to be a year after the second dose or eight months or 16 months, but we should anticipate a booster.

So, this was all predicted and predictable. I think sometimes the messaging is not very clear about that but, you know, personally, I`ve always thought this was going to be a three-dose vaccine from the beginning.

HASAN: Olivia, what is the effect of Trump praising the vaccines in one breath and undermining them in the next. What is the effect on the GOP base?

OLIVIA TROYE, DIRECTOR, REPUBLICAN ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT: Well, the issue is that it`s constantly undermining the vaccination efforts and the pandemic across this country. And the thing is he`s, you know, kind of expressing support because he`s trying to cover his own self, right? And he`s kind of -- sort of supported with the vaccine. But the problem is at the basis isn`t there. And when you have networks such as the ones that you`ve discussed where they`re actually pushing him to the talking points. And we know that Donald Trump repeats the last (INAUDIBLE) someone who says in the room and they point him down the direction. That`s what he tends to do.

And the fact of the matter is, this is a man who is revengeful and he`s a grifter. And so, I`m not surprised to see him talking about Pfizer in that way. Let`s keep in mind that Pfizer was one of the people that did not seek out funding from Operation Warp Speed. So, he probably still holds resentment against them for that. And so, he comes out and speaks out against him even though he fully knows that it`s the wrong thing to do.


And Dr. Hotez is right. We were actually briefed on this from day one when they did the first actual vaccine briefing inside the White House. I remember this vividly. And they said that there might be the possibility for boosters needed in the future, even when the vaccine was developed, because the Coronavirus evolves.

It`s an evolving virus, science changes, this is kind of how this virus works. And so, he was told that, Vice President Pence was told this, so this should not be a shock to either of them, and especially to Donald Trump, and so he knows better.

HASAN: Olivia, I have to ask the question. I know I`ve asked you this before, but I`m going to ask again. Dr. Hotez mentioned, you know, Trump would have been in briefings. You just mentioned that there were these meetings where these things were discussed.

Did Donald Trump ever pay any attention to any of the science or any of the details in any meeting you saw him in or heard about him attending?

TROYE: So, this is why this is so frustrating to watch. Donald Trump paid attention. He understood the science. At times, he would ask questions about it. He would repeat the questions back. And it was fully cognizant of the fact that he actually was tracking the situation. And at times, he understood how dire it was, which is why he himself has been vaccinated. And which is why you see people like Abbott right now, right, they`re taking these treatments that have been told that are helpful when you have COVID, even though he`s been vaccinated.

All of these people understand the science, which is why this is so egregious because they`re actually putting their own supporters at great risk repeatedly. And it`s negligent and it`s irresponsible leadership and they know that they are doing it. And I can`t tell you, Mehdi, it is heartbreaking for me to watch what`s happening in states like Texas and Florida that tend to follow and Trump`s lead, that that that followed his lead from the very beginning because these leaders know better, and Trump knows better.

And it`s a shame because you have networks telling these false narratives that are actually hurtful to their supporters and the people that follow them. And it`s just shameful. And it`s -- you know, it`s the grift that keeps on grifting, but it`s costing us lives.

HASAN: Yes, certainly. Dr. Hotez, let`s broaden out this discussion, because one of the reasons people are talking about a booster shot is because fully vaccinated people are getting COVID, a minority of them, a tiny minority, but that`s the big question. We don`t know how many exactly. We know about hospitalizations and deaths. We don`t know about cases as a whole because the CDC stopped publicly tracking breakthrough cases several months ago. They`re only counting what comes into hospitals and who dies fully vaccinated.

That`s been criticized by a number of scientists. What do you make of that decision? How has it impacted public health? Is it time they do a U-turn on that frankly?

HOTEZ: Yes, I think it`s important that the CDC modernized a bit in order to track vaccine effectiveness. There have been grants put in place for that purpose. But you know, most of the preliminary data that we`re getting on vaccine effectiveness from at least to Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine is coming out of Israel.

And what the Israelis have reported is that after six to eight months, the effectiveness of the vaccine for preventing infection is gone down from over 90 percent of 40 to 50 percent. And now the Mayo Clinic is put up a study on med archive showing something similar.

Before you get alarmed by that, it`s really important to remember that hospitalizations, although they seem to be going up also not nearly at the same rate. So, it`s still a really strong vaccine after -- even after all this time in two doses. But I think, you know, the leadership in the White House thought maybe that the high number of breakthrough cases might be the tip of the spear and in anticipation that we`re going to see more breakthrough hospitalizations, and that`s the reason why they pulled the trigger.

HASAN: Well, we`re going to talk to Dr. Francis Collins about pulling that trigger later in the show. Olivia, let me ask you this. We`ve been playing clips on this show this week last week out of Tennessee, out of Texas, you know, people attending school boards screaming in parking lot, screaming at council members and school superintendents. When you look at the behavior of Abbott and DeSantis, when you look at the behavior of people like that on screen, what has happened to the Republican Party and the conservative movement in this country?

Because this is not about small government or low taxes or even, you know, pro-life protests outside abortion clinics. This is just people being deranged, people being cruel, people behaving in a completely anti-social way. How do you put that genie back in the bottle?

TROYE: Well, you don`t. It is -- it is shameful, it is disgusting, and it is embarrassing and they know better. But I think that what they`ve decided -- they`ve decided that this is where (INAUDIBLE). This base of the more extreme views and this behavior that encourages violence, and the current images (AUDIO GAP) and it`s absolutely disgraceful. And, you know, there`s no other way around it.


But I have to say this. I think that what they`re doing is they`re driving voters away from the Republican Party because a lot of voters out there are not OK with what`s happening. They`re putting children at risk. They`re creating divisiveness on a virus that really shouldn`t be dividing us as a country. We should be united against the virus. The virus is the enemy, not each other.

And the sooner they quickly realize that, the better. But they won`t, because this is where they`ve decided that, you know, where the fundraising is, and this is where they think their support is and that`s really unfortunate.

HASAN: The fundraising, astonishing. I appreciate you speaking out. Olivia Troy, Dr. Peter Hotez, thank you both for your time tonight.

HOTEZ: Thank you.

HASAN: Desperation in Afghanistan as people try to flee the Taliban. Could it all have been prevented? Next, just how long do we have to get people out? Plus, my interview with an Afghan woman who escaped just in time but whose family are still trapped. Don`t go anywhere. We`ll be right back.



GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: So, you don`t think this could have been handled -- this actually could have been handled better in any way, no mistakes?

BIDEN: No, I don`t think it could have been handled in a way that there -- we were going to go back in hindsight and look, but the idea that somehow there`s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don`t know how that happens. I don`t know how that happened.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, for you, that was always priced into the decision.



HASAN: That was President Joe Biden in his first TV interview since he withdrew U.S. troops from Afghanistan, making the case that there was no way to avoid the chaos. You would not know it from the last few days of chaos in Afghanistan as the country swiftly fell to the Taliban and thousands of people are trying to get out.

But we have not actually reached the deadline for the U.S. military`s withdrawal yet. That officially comes on August the 31st just under two weeks from today. And in those two weeks, there is a lot we can still do to get Americans and Afghans to safety. The Pentagon says it`s aiming to evacuate five to 9000 people per day. So far, the U.S. has evacuated 5000 people and brought an additional 2000 Afghans to the United States as special immigrants.

But some people are having trouble just getting to the airport in Kabul. The U.S. State Department has received reports of the Taliban blocking access, setting up checkpoints, turning people away, and even beating some Afghans who are trying to evacuate.

Sarah Chayes is a former NPR reporter who covered the war in Afghanistan and the fall of the Taliban in the early 2000s. She wrote about her experience in her book The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After The Taliban. And Tommy Vietor is the former spokesperson for the National Security Council under President Barack Obama. He`s now a co-host of the podcast Pod Save America and host of Pod Save the World.

Thank you both for coming on the show. Tommy, let me start with you. You were on the NSC. This is a huge screw up is it not? You and I may agree with Joe Biden that this was the right thing to do, but this was a failure in the way that it was handled, in the way that you know it was not seen coming according to NBC reporting.

The CIA warned of a rapid collapse. And now they`re playing the blame game. General Mark Milley said today, nope, he never saw any of that Intel. This is bad, is it not?

TOMMY VIETOR, HOST, POD SAVE THE WORLD. Giving out the people who helped us in this war effort over the past few decades is bad. And they need to rectify that immediately. And obviously, that part of this process getting these Special Immigrant Visas out, getting the P1, the P2 Visas out. All these people that help the United States, the USAID, helped the news media. We need to get those people out.

And so, this mission isn`t over. Joe Biden needs to figure out how to get them out. I do agree with President Biden`s assessment that after 20 years, it was time to end the war in Afghanistan. The mission against al-Qaeda had gone well, the nation-building exercise was doomed to fail from the beginning and it was in the state to continue with this long.

HASAN: Sarah, you lived in Afghanistan. You also later advise the Joint Chiefs of Staff. What did we all get wrong about the durability even, dare I say, the popularity of the Taliban in parts of Afghanistan? What did we miss? What did U.S. general miss?

SARAH CHAYES, FORMER REPORTER, NPR: So, I actually disagree with Tommy on that. And I would say I don`t think the Taliban are particularly popular. I don`t think that`s quite an accurate way of putting it either. There were two decisive variables in this whole situation from the beginning. And they were Afghan government corruption aided and abetted reinforce (AUDIO GAP) and with every Afghan leader that we supported.

And the second decisive variable was the role of Pakistan. It`s not as though the Taliban or some, you know, grassroots movement that sprang up inside Afghanistan, as we often hear. I spent months interviewing people, both ordinary Afghans who had been living in Kandahar and in Qatar, across the border in Pakistan, and also key actors in this drama back in 1994.

Everyone agrees that it was the Pakistani military intelligence agency that basically concocted the Taliban back in about 1993, and then reconstituted them starting approximately 2003. And so, I actually think there`s a lot we could have done differently.

And having been also in interagency policy development in 2010-2011, I can tell you, there were some of us who were arguing very forcefully for a stronger U.S. stance in holding the Afghan government to basic standards of integrity, and it was explicitly rejected by the U.S. cabinet and President Obama.

And the same thing is true of Pakistan. Many people were pointing out the active role Pakistan had played, not to mention that they also provided nuclear technology to North Korea and Iran. So, I don`t understand one of those decisions that (INAUDIBLE) that period.


HASAN: You mentioned Obama, so let me bring Tommy back in. Tommy, you obviously worked for Barack Obama. You and I have talked many times before about various aspects of foreign policy that he may have got wrong, he could have done better on. Where does Afghanistan fit into that scheme in your view when you look at Syria, and Libya, and some of the other areas, Yemen, of contention that you and I have discussed? I mean, Joe Biden as successfully pulling troops out of Afghanistan. He may be doing it in a bad way, but he`s managing to do it. We know that Barack Obama had a similar instinct, but he never did this.

VIETOR: So, during the Obama years, especially early on, the threat from al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan was growing and was significant. And, you know, that was largely because George W. Bush started the war there, took his eye off the ball, and then decided to invade Iraq.

So, what Obama decided to do was surge a bunch of additional troops in 2009 and 2010 to push back the Taliban, and try to buy some time and space to go after al-Qaeda and essentially prevent the government toppling -- prevent major population centers from being overrun. What did that get us? It got us back to a status quo ante.

And in hindsight, I think that that major surge was probably a mistake, and that the U.S. should have shifted to a counterterrorism mission sooner and drawn down troops sooner. And I agree, Mehdi, in hindsight, it`s very easy to say the safe haven in Pakistan was a problem, corruption has been a problem. It`s very easy to identify those problems, solving them is much harder, especially when you have a bunch of other competing priorities like the need to be able to undertake counterterrorism missions in Pakistan, the need to keep the lid on Pakistan`s nuclear weapons program, the need to do a million other things, it becomes complicated.

And so look, I think the surge in hindsight was a mistake. I do think it was time to end this war, and that, frankly, it was doomed for a long time.

HASAN: Yes. And Joe Biden, of course, was one of those people who at least at the time, briefed the people he was against that search. It`s interesting him following up now as president. Sarah, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani turned up today in the United Arab Emirates, reportedly accused of taking $169 million of cash with him.

This was the guy who was supposed to be clean. He was the guy who was going to fix Afghanistan, the technocrat, the economist, and it looks like he may have just been as corrupt as everyone before him. We talk a lot about the Afghan military`s fault, but how much is Afghan political leadership over 20 years to blame for this debacle now?

CHAYES: Afghan political leadership and the incentive structure that the United States and many of its international allies put in place. We set up an incentive structure that rewarded the most corrupt. And again, I beg to differ with you, Tommy. A lot of us -- it`s not in hindsight. A lot of us had been talking about Pakistan and corruption for years. That interagency process --


CHAYES: They were tracking -- sorry?

VIETOR: I think that what was lacking were the solutions. You know, it`s not that there weren`t like ideas in white paper --

CHAYES: I`m sorry. I`m sorry, Tommy. The number of plants, the number of -- the number of extremely explicit governance campaign plans that were put forward, I mean, with most likely most dangerous mitigation strategies for what might go wrong, I can think of three or four that were submitted and frankly, died in the national security staff.

So, I think there`s a bit of disingenuousness here. And again, I have had no, I want to say, sympathy for corrupt Afghan officials. But on the other hand, let`s just take a look. I feel like we`re in a hall of mirrors today. You know, look at the mansions in the massive neighborhoods around Washington where contractors and government officials live after having promulgated failed policies. And then we call --

HASAN: It is truly -- it is truly horrific to see. Sarah, we`re out of time. I do want to give Tommy 20 seconds since you -- since you made a couple of jobs there. We`re out of time but Tommy, 20 seconds, last word.

VIETOR: Listen, I would just say that white papers and plans in Washington in the Situation Room had bumped up against the reality in Afghanistan and Pakistan for 20 years. And the smartest people writing the smartest way papers have not managed to fix the problems. I don`t think it was the lack of trying. I think it was the lack of good ideas, I think it was time to end this mission.

CHAYES: Tommy, I`m sorry, I lived on the ground. I lived in Kandahar. Don`t you tell me as a -- as speechwriter what realities are on the ground in Kandahar -- in Afghanistan.

VIETOR: I wasn`t speaking to you.

HASAN: I wish -- I wish we had -- I wish we had more time.

CHAYES: Give me a break. I mean, seriously.


HASAN: I wish we had more time for this discussion, but we don`t. I appreciate you both coming on the show and making your views very forcefully. Sarah Chayes, Tommy Vietor, thank you both for your insights tonight. I appreciate it.

Next, the ongoing human tragedy in Afghanistan. I`ll talk to a woman who just arrived in America a few days ago but whose family back home in Afghanistan still trapped in a living nightmare.


HASAN: Up until just a few days ago, Nasrin Nawa, a Fulbright scholar at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and a former BBC journalist was living in the capital of Afghanistan, in Kabul. But as the city descended quickly into chaos, she was already booked on a flight out to the United States. Her family, however, were not so lucky.

In a Washington Post op-ed titled My Taliban Nightmare Came True: I Left But My Sister Couldn`t, Nawa writes, "with reports circulating about Taliban militants raiding the houses of activists, journalists and others, I called my sister and told her to go home and hide all of our identity cards. Then I told her that she needed to destroy her guitar. She said her hands were unable to do that, but I pleaded with her. I told her, the Taliban`s hands are capable of killing you for your art."

Nasrin Nawa joins me now. Thank you so much for coming on the show tonight. What was it like leaving your own country in that way, and did you have any sense before you left how quickly Kabul would fall to the Taliban? Did anyone expect things would escalate that quickly? [20:35:45]

NASRIN NAWA, FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA, LINCOLN: Actually we were expecting so many bad things like a big war coming to Kabul, since Taliban violence were in increased and they could capture most of the provinces, more than (AUDIO GAP) of the provinces. But seriously, honestly, we`re not predicting that in a blink, Taliban can take the whole power in the country. So, we were trying to get ready for something bad, but not this.

HASAN: Are you still in contact with your family in Kabul? When was the last time you spoke to your sister?

NAWA: Hopefully, I`m still in contact with them. And we wish that Taliban don`t deprive us of having this blessing, internet. We talked like about five hours ago. She was not able to sleep. And she sent me a video of the neighborhood, that Taliban raided our neighbor`s home. They hit them -- they hit the man with their guns and pushed him into the house, locked the door.

So, she was so scared tonight. And she was telling what if I`m the next. She`s mentally devastated but she`s physically right now fine and safe in our home.

HASAN: Nasrin, your family left Afghanistan when the Taliban took control in 1996. And I believe you were raised in Iran for your own protection. You returned to Afghanistan later in life. You`ve attended college, you become a journalist in Kabul. Did you think Afghanistan was on a positive road, was on the right track? How much of the improvements that we saw over 20 years did you believe were durable?

NAWA: I believe we had improvements, we have -- we had developments. We tried our best to make the country a better place for living. The youth generation had a new window to the new world. We learned new values and got new perspectives. So, I believe we were just going for war if see from that point, but at the same time, we were somehow involved, some point some areas, some provinces in Afghanistan, we`re experiencing clashes and finds among the security forces and Taliban.

But we were never thinking that this much sacrificing after two decades will end up at the same point that we were 20 years ago. As you say, we were migrants before just before the protection. And again, we are at the same point. In that time, my parents should have worried about me, and they taught me to Iran to be safe. And now, after a generation raised, after so many sacrificing, again, we are at the same points. And now I am taking care of my family, my parents and thinking to take them in a safe place.

HASAN: We`ll have to leave it there. Nasrin Nawa, thank you so much for coming on the show tonight to talk to us. And I do hope your family and, in particular, your sister is safe and well. I appreciate it.

NAWA: Thank you.

HASAN: Stay with us. There are so many huge questions about the Biden administration`s big announcement about vaccine boosters, and the director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, is here to answer them. That`s ahead.



HASAN: Texas Governor Greg Abbott is trying to do anything and everything he can to stop people from wearing masks, even as he himself tested positive for COVID this week. So, now local officials are trying to figure out how to protect ordinary Texans.

Last week, we reported on how Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins fought Abbott`s mass mandate ban in court and signed an order requiring masks to be worn inside schools and businesses in the county. That order was put on hold just days later by the Texas Supreme Court, a panel of all Republicans.

In response, Dallas Superintendent Michael Hinojosa announced his school district would enforce a mass mandate. Michael Hinojosa was on this program Monday saying he would enforce masking unless specifically ordered by a court to stop.

Now, another Texas School District is finding its own way to protect students by using the school`s dress code. It`s a dress code which already includes no hats or sunglasses, no house slippers or noisy footwear. It mandates that girls tops must fall at least one inch below the waist whether standing or sitting, boys shirts that fall below the bottom of the buttocks must be tucked in.


This district like a lot of others, I would imagine, is very explicit about what you can put on your body in the name of decorum and hygiene. And so, it seems like a no-brainer to just add masks to the dress code as they put it. For health reasons, masks are currently required for all employees and students to mitigate flu cold pandemic and any other communicable diseases.

In announcing the change, the district basically told the governor to back off writing the Texas Governor does not have the authority to usurp the Board of Trustees` exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the public schools of the district. Nothing in the governor`s executive order states he has suspended chapter 11 of the Texas Education Code and therefore the board is elected to amend its dress code consistent with its statutory authority.

All this begs the question though, what have we come to as a country where nearly 630,000 people have died from a deadly disease? And the tried and tested method to prevent that disease from spreading is wearing a mask. And because the Republican governor of a state for some inexplicable reason does not want to "force masks" a small covering on your face to save lives, schools have had to come up with these bizarre outside the box solutions, the dress code. Is there any more damning indictment of how parts of America have lost their collective minds?

Now, as top health officials are recommending a third booster shot, one of the top public health officials in the country, Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health joins us to discuss next. You do not want to miss it.



HASAN: Less than a week ago, on Friday, the CDC recommended COVID-19 booster shots for those with compromised immune systems. Now, five days later, public health officials are advising all adults get an additional shot of the vaccine starting in a few weeks` time. Right now, the guidance is that those who got the Moderna and Pfizer shots get their booster eight months after their second dose. Federal health officials are citing waning protection from the vaccines, as well as the new more contagious variant of the virus.

Today Dr. Anthony Fauci argued boosters were a necessary step to get ahead of the pandemic.


ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT: If you wait for something bad to happen before you respond to it, you find yourselves you`re considerably behind your real full capability of being in response. You don`t want to find yourself behind playing catch up. You better stay ahead of it than chasing after it.


HASAN: But about a third of eligible Americans can`t even be bothered to get one shot, so how do we convince them to get three? For more on this latest development, I`m joined by one of the nation`s top public health officials, Dr. Francis Collins. He`s director of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Collins, thanks so much for coming back on the show.

To the person at home who is watching right now who might be fully vaccinated, had their double shot of Pfizer on Moderna who`s been told day after day for the last few months that they are fully protected, 80 percent, 90 percent efficacy, why do they need another shot so soon? Explain that to them.

FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: I`d be glad to try. Yes, they are fully protected against severe disease or hospitalization because the vaccines are working well so far in that situation, even against this really nasty Delta variant. But if you watch the data very closely, and many of us involved in this have been studying this daily, you can begin to see some waning of that protection.

We are seeing now more indications of breakthroughs, people who do get infected even though they`re vaccinated. The vast, vast majority of them do not get very sick. They have some symptoms. Perhaps they don`t end up in the hospital. But when you look at the data over the last three or four weeks as Delta is really taken hold, and when you look in other places like Israel, you can begin to see that we`re on a path where maybe in another month or two, we`re going to start to see potential of people getting more sick than they have been so far.

So, maybe you could say we`re a little ahead of the curve. But maybe if we waited, we be a little behind the curve. It`s like Dr. Fauci just said, it`s a little bit of a Goldilocks moment. Where do you want to put down your bets? We think because lives are at stake, if we are going a little early, I`d rather be in that space and be a little late.

So, the plan is by September 20, if FDA and CDC look at all the data and agree, then people who are at that point, eight months away from their initial immunization, will be eligible for a third shot.

HASAN: Isn`t the problem, Dr. Collins, you mentioned data, but we don`t have all the data when it comes to breakthrough infections in particular with vaccinated individuals because the CDC for some bizarre reason back in May stopped collecting data or stop publishing, maybe they`re still collecting, they didn`t tell us, data on the number of breakthrough cases which don`t result in hospitalization or death.

They said they were only going to carry on publishing data on hospitalizations and deaths among fully vaccinated people. Many scientists, including Dr. Peter Hotez who I spoke to at the top of this show, say that was a mistake. We need to see the data. We need to understand fully what is going on. Would you urge the CDC tonight to really publish a collect count all of that data so we know the full picture on breakthrough cases?

COLLINS: Well, I think they have been hearing that. In fact, there are three papers published today by the CDC, one from New York State, one from nursing homes, one a broader survey, and there`s a paper from Mayo Clinic last week that is looking at all the breakthroughs. So, you can get a pretty good snapshot.

And what you see, Mehdi, is that basically, the protection against mild illness is starting to go down a bit. And that kind of predicts that over time, the protection against more severe illness might also start to wane. And that`s what we`re trying to do here is to get ahead of that. I mean, think of this as you`re running a race. We`ve been doing that with this virus chasing after us. The vaccines came along, we had a chance to get well ahead.

But then the Delta variant came along and the virus started catching up. So, now we need another sort of supercharged boost here to get us well ahead of what otherwise might happen. We`re always trying to stay a little bit ahead of this virus so that people don`t run into really serious illness. That`s what we`re trying to do.

HASAN: So, Dr. Collins, why eight months? How is that number chosen? And is it a hard and fast rule? Because I spoke to Dr. Celine Gounder yesterday on the show, and she didn`t seem to understand what the rationale for the eight months was. She wasn`t even convinced boosters are totally necessary. She`s an expert on infectious diseases. Have a listen to her.


DR. CELINE GOUNDER, INFECTIOUS DISEASE PHYSICIAN: There is clear data that people who are highly immunocompromised, so people who have had solid organ transplants, or on highly immunosuppressive medications, people who have AIDS, these are people who may need an additional dose of vaccine.

There`s also good data that people who are in nursing homes would benefit from extra doses and what I would call the older elderly people over the age of 80. But there`s really not good data to support giving extra doses to the general population at this time.


HASAN: What is your response to Dr. Gounder?

COLLINS: So, well, she`s a really smart and well informed infectious disease expert. Actually, I would say what`s being proposed here matches what she says quite well, because the idea of this eight months means that starting in September, people who got their first doses back in January, would then be qualified to get a third dose.

Who are those people? They`re the people in the nursing homes, they`re the elderly, their health care providers, all the people that we think might be most in need of this, and then we`ll sort of see how it goes. But basically, you`re starting with the highest risk people where the evidence is becoming more compelling.

There`s nothing magical about eight months. We could have said seven, we go to set nine. It is in fact, for a practical purpose. By the time we`re ready to start giving boosters, it will be about eight months since the first folks got their doses back in January.

HASAN: So, Dr. Collins, what about availability? For those who are eager to get a booster? Are you expecting a repeat of March and April of this year of people calling pharmacies looking for an appointment, frantically refreshing Web sites, looking anywhere from available shot?

COLLINS: No. I think we`re going to be a very good position to be able to offer these boosters to people who are interested in getting them. You know, there are 50,000 places around the country now from which you can get a vaccine. Our production of vaccines has gone way up since then. People should not worry. It should be pretty straightforward when you`ve reached your sort of eight month anniversary to go get that shot, ideally of the same vaccine that you received the first time because that`s where we have the best data. But no, we are not going to have that kind of crunch. We have a much better system now for distribution.

HASAN: And when the WHO, the World Health Organization says that`s exactly part of the problem that America does have lots of vaccine doses but the rest of the world is facing a shortage, now is not the time, the WHO is saying, for the American government to be giving a third shot when millions and millions of people around the world have not had a first shot?

COLLINS: Well, I sure hear that because I`m somebody who has been a passionate supporter of global health for my whole career. But, you know, the U.S. still does have a disproportion amount of the deaths and infections from this. So, we do have to think about our people rather prominently.

And we are giving out doses. We will -- we`ve committed over 600 million doses to the rest of the world. 115 million of those already sent out. We have made $4 billion contribution to COVAX. We`re in that space. I think it is fair to say we can do both of these things without compromising one versus the other. But I totally hear that concern. And we need to watch that and do everything we can to ramp up our contributions to the rest of the world where they`re depending on us.

And this is a tradition we want to stick with for all the decades that we`ve tried to be not just the soldier to the world, but the doctor to the world. This is the time to do that.

HASAN: Yes, well, it`s a -- it`s still a big challenge. It`s still a big crisis. Dr. Francis Collins from the NIH, we appreciate you taking time out tonight to come on and talk to us about boosters.

That is ALL IN on this Wednesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Mehdi. Thanks, my friend. Much appreciated. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

OK, we`re going to start tonight with a story where when I start to tell this story, you are going to think that you know where it`s going. You`re going to think that you know where this is going to end up. But I`m telling you, you`re wrong about that. This is an amazing story that happened --