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tv   Don Lemon Tonight  CNN  August 17, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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president biden returning to the white house tonight from camp david earlier than planned as top administration officials try to contain the fallout from the u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan, the collapse of the government and the taliban returning to power in kabul. aides say biden takes full responsibility for what's unfolding there and is expected to address the minor people again in the coming days. the national security adviser jake sullivan saying the u.s. is in talks with the taliban to allow safe passage for americans and afghans who helped america during the long war to leave the country. the taliban claiming there will be no violence against women in
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afghanistan, but one woman telling clarissa ward she fears for her life. >> reporter: until last week she was working for the u.n. that's not her real name, and we ask she not show her face. she's petrified the taliban will link her to u.s. organizations and says she hasn't gone outside since they arrived in kabul. you look very frightened. >> exactly. it is not easy for a person to vote a lot with international organization having more than ten years experience of working with international, and now no one of them helped me. just sending emails to different organizations that i work with you, but now no response. >> reporter: are you angry? >> no, i am not angry, but as a person who worked with them, you no i need their supports. it is not fair. >> reporter: you look very emotional as well.
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>> yeah, because i'm thinking about my future, my daughters. what will happen to them? if they kill me, two daughters will be without mother. >> joining me now, cnn correspondent john hardwood and former adviser to george h.w. bush and john mccain, and he's executive producer of "the circus". gentleman, good evening. the stories are really just unbelievable coming out of afghanistan. john, the president is back at the white house tonight while his administration tries to contain the fallout over the chaos and the fall of kabul. he is going to do an interview with abc news tomorrow and he's sure to be press on what went so wrong. what do you think we'll hear? >> well, i would expect that george stephanopoulos will press him on why it was that the united states was caught so unaware by the rapid collapse of the afghan government and security forces. president biden has said in his
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speech yesterday it was faster than we anticipated, but we don't really know why it wasn't anticipated. was it intelligence? was the intelligence disregarded? the other question would be, why didn't you do more with the time that you had to get tens of thousands of not only american personnel, but you the afghan personnel who helped the united states out of the country? having said that, the difference between success and fail your for biden is not whether the taliban took over the country, because it was obvious they were going to take over the country in either case. the difference between temporary humiliation we saw in the images yesterday and enduring calamity is whether or not you can get safely those people out. they've now regained control of the airport. they say they can take it up to 9 thank y 9,000 people a day. you do that two weeks, it is still possible to salvage the
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situation, but all that work is ahead of them, and i would expect president biden to emphasize that they've begun that work and will sustain it. >> america mckinnon, this is still a disaster that could really blow up at any moment, but you the president is sticking to his message that it was the right thing to do to get out. the reality of this and the politics, only just horrible. bhal the lasting impact of this be? is it too soon to tell? do we know? >> i think john make as a great point. there is expected and reasonable ventilating about what has been going on the last few days. it has been a calamity, a collapse, and john mentioned the response they hadn't expected this particular outcome. welsh that's inexcusable. that's what you do in military scenario planning you plan for any outcome, any possibility. so this should have been a possibility that was anticipated and there should have been a
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scenario for dealing with it. so that is at biden's feet. but i agree with john as well. we were going to be leaving afghanistan. joe biden campaigned on that. donald trump was doing that. i suspect the outcome wouldn't have been much different had donald trump been in a second term right now. by looking back, the real political consequences will be, will joe biden and will this administration get everybody out that needs to get out? will we leave no afghan behind? will we leave no american behind? because that's what ultimately we'll be judged upon is whether or not people were evacuated and left and killed by the taliban. >> john, there's so much news going on in the country right now. i want to turn to the pandemic and the texas governor greg abbott testing positive for covid. let's hope he gets well, he's okay with this. he's sevening regeneron's monoclonal antibody treatment. but how does this look when he's against mask mandates, banning
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schools from requiring masks? >> like you, don, i hope and expect that governor abbott will get better and there's every reason to think he will. not only has he been vaccinated, tested every day, but he also -- even though he has no symptoms -- immediately got the gold plated monoclonal antibody treatment, which of course is not available to most people and typically not available to people who are asymptomatic. and i've got to say, i don't think -- for somebody who through his actions endangers vulnerable people in his own state for votes, hypocritical is not strong enough a word for that. i think the word is immoral, and i don't know that that reality will harm greg abbott in texas, but the fact that he would carry on with the protection of the
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best that medicine has to offer while doing what he's doing to facilitate the pandemic in his own state is -- it's a very, very ugly thing to see. >> mark, i want to put up the images from this event that greg abbott attended last night -- a packed room indoors. no masks. do you think getting covid may change his mind at all about masks? >> i would sure hope so, don. given that photo, we know that the governor has covid, so presumably had covid last night. presumably he was spreading covid among those who were at that gathering and presumably -- they obviously didn't have masks on and presumably many of them were unvaccinated. so the governor himself likely was spreading the disease as recently as last night. and so, i mean, the texas schools are about to go back into session, and we're going see what's happening. we're going to see in texas,
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what's been happening in georgia and other jurisdictions where because there's not a mask mandate, they're going into school for two days and then literally everybody is going home and quarantining. and so this notion that, you know, it's about freedom, well, nobody should have the freedom to infect other people and make other people sick. that's like saying, you shouldn't have to wear seat belts or you should be able to drive drunk. >> yeah. thank you, gentleman. be safe. i'll see you soon. let's bring in jason candor, he's a former army captain and afghanistan veteran who works with the veterans community project. jason, i'm so happy to have you here, and i want to thank you right off for your service to the country and thank you for bringing your expertise to the program. >> thanks for having me. it's terrible. it's not unexpected but it
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doesn't change how terrible it is to actually see the taliban take over. you know, for ten years we've assumed this was eventually going to happen, but there's just so many ways in which it's terrible. in some ways it feels like the country after about, i don't know, more than a decade of completely forgetting about it has discovered that we have been at war in afghanistan, and even that, it's probably 20th on the list of what's frustrating, but realizing that the country is just realizing this is happening, that's frustrating. there's just a lot about it that is frustrating for those of us who served there. it is upsetting. so what i have been trying to do the last few days is make myself useful to my fellow afghanistan veterans because that's really all i'm in a position to do right now. >> listen, the blitzkrieg takeover by the taliban has left many of our afghan allies in
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grave danger. your thoughts when you watch what happened with the afghan forces and the afghan government that you and others sacrificed so much to establish, and it seems to have just -- really it just disappeared, jason. >> yeah, i'm not surprised. i guess what i don't -- i have a lot of anger in this situation, but i don't really direct any of it at anybody in particular, and i definitely don't direct it at the afghan national security forces. seems like a lot of people in this country have chosen -- there is a couple of paths people have chosen. some people have chosen to point their ire at a partisan foe. you know, republicans want to point it at president biden. a lot of my fellow democrats want to point it at president bush or president trump. and i think over 20 years everybody has plenty of blame to share in all of this.
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some people just want to point it at the afghan military and say, why won't they fight for their country? for those of us who worked with the afghan military, there's a few things to remember. this is not like a soldier from texas serving with a soldier from montana and say, we're both americans. if you're in helma in you've probably never been to sharif. you've probably never met a us beck. your country, afghanistan was a country drawn by lines who people didn't live there. it's a whole different set of fighting for your country. withdrawal is the right thing for our country, but there are facts and consequences that come with it like the close air support, the intelligence support, the technology, the way they trained them to fight. it's not really there for them at that point.
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the government of afghanistan has not been in many case in a position to feed them. no you you're starving, surrounded, and it's not like when you're deployed by another country. do i fight to the end? that's not a difficult choice the make when you're trained. they train to you make that choice. it's more than that. it's, if i continue the fight, i'm either killed or captured. the taliban bel know it was me and they're going my hometown to kill my wife and my kids and my parents. that's a very different set of decisions to make. i just think there's more nuance to the question of, did they stand up and fight? best outcome for this since we are here, jason? >> the best outcome is we get as many people out what need to be out as possible, that we continue -- look, it has sort of
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settled in this narrative of this is a massive failure, a massive catastrophe. this is not over yet. the united states military, the best military in human history is on the ground, secured the airport, and now diplomatically my understanding is we're discussing with the taliban how we can get people out who are not within. the story's not over yet. is this story going end in some massive victory? no, it's not. we're not going to look back an this chapter of this war and say, this was a success. i believe we'll look back and say, we accomplished the objectives that were set it in the first play. we denied a sanctuary to international terrorism for 20 years. we made life better for people for 20 years. this last part, how we exited, did we do right by the people who did right by us? we still have an opportunity to get that less wrong, and that's what i'm hopeful for, because the people i served with, they're good people who i
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admire, the afghans, and i'm worried about them and their families and i want them to get here, because they deserve it. >> jason, i'm so glad you're reaching out to your fellow soldiers and folks who are there, and take care of u yourself. be well. thank you. >> i will. thanks, don, appreciate it. also tonight, taliban releasing this video of their cof cofounder arriving in kandahar. it is the first time he's set foot in afghanistan in 20 years. joining me now, two people who have done a lot of reporting on this taliban founder. author of "eagle down" the last special forces fighting the forever war. and a former foreign correspondent for the daily telegraph and sunday time of london and the author of "first casualty the untold story of the cia mission to avenge 9/11".
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good evening to both of you. thank you so much. jessica, i'm going to start with you. a few years ago, the mullah was in prison. tonight he is back on afghan soil and could be the next leader there. you point out he owes his freedom to the u.s. why did the trump administration help release him back in 2018? please give us some insight on this. >> absol >> absolutely and thanks for having me. the trump administration back in 2018 was looking for an in inte cue to have. they pushed islamabad to free him. the other important thing to know about him is he had actually tried to surrender before. when he was probably one of the main leaders of the taliban in 2001, he tried to surrender. he tried to tell the afghan
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government i want to join you. this war is over, which made the trump administration think perhaps they'd get a second chance at peace. the problem is, fast forward 20 years the taliban were in such a strong position they no longer really wanted to negotiate. >> interesting. toby, the deal with the taliban was so important to the former president that trump wanted he and other members to come to camp david in 2019 before the 9/11 anniversary, but it was eventually called off. why did they set such a store by this deal? >> well, i think they decided that the war should be ended and they wanted to do it by any means possible. the mullah is a very interesting character. as jessica mentioned the fact that he tried to surveillance render in 2001 points to a moment in time very early on when we achieved considerable
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success in the first few week of the campaign, toppled the taliban almost as quickly as the taliban topples the afghan government this year. at that point if we'd kept to our narrow war aims of pursuing al qaeda and denying sanctuary in afghanistan to al qaeda, we could have ended the war, incorporated a small element of the taliban into the afghan government which would have been per afghan tradition, but we chose not to do that and so here we are 20 years later in a much worse position and perhaps more importantly a much worse position for the afghans. >> days after they sign add deal with the taliban then president trump spoke to mullah on the phone. here's what he had to say. >> i spoke to the leader of the
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taliban today. we had a good conversation. we agreed there's no violence. we'll see what happens. they're dealing with afghanistan, but we'll see what happens. >> the relationship is very good that i have with the mullah, and we had a good long conversation today. you know, they want to cease the violence. >> that was back in march of 2020, but clearly the violence never ended. was giving baradar this kind of credibility a big mistake? >> i think baradar had the ability to negotiate on behalf of the taliban. the problem is he never guaranteed or suggested he was prepared to reduce violence. the trump administration negotiators tried really hard for a year to get the taliban to agree to a cease-fire, to get them to agree to negotiate with the afghan government, but they didn't go very far. the only thing they agreed to was to give the americans safe passage on the way out.
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this a never agreed to not attack afghan forces, and they never agreed to reach a settlement with them, which is why the whole thing that has happened this past few days, which is incredibly fast, is not that surprising. >> toby, in 2020 baradar met with mike pompeo in dorha. what can you tell us about their negotiations? >> well, i wasn't party to them, but as jessica said, there are no meaningful negotiations because the trump administration and the united states were deciding to run for the exits, and even the relatively lax conditions that they laid down, the taliban clearly had no interest in abiding by. i think another important point to make about this is alongside mullah baradar you have a man called mullah fazul who was part
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of the negotiating team in doha and reportedly traveled with baradar after the collapse of the government. while he has been a moderate figure, mullah fazul is absolutely not, and he was another field goal who was present in 2001 and was cited by the united nations as being guilty of genocide, the massacre of hazaras in a province and the cia believes he was responsible for the massacre of 10,000 or 20,000 across northern afghanistan. he spent 12 years in begaguanta and was trade in the exchange for bo bergdahl.
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if he becomes the true heart of the taliban government -- we don't know how that's going cob c to be composed. >> we learned a lot. thank you, appreciate it. be well. overnight, the women and girls in afghanistan have lost 20 years of progress and they're terrified of what the taliban might do next. next, exclusive audio from inside afghanistan. >> if we stay here for one more hour, there is going to be a massacre. i'm telling you that there is going to be a massacre. everybody will be killed here. ¡! (vo) how do you know when you've found your team? whether you're winning, or just doing your best.
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the u.s. sold women and
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girls of afghanistan on a dream am sbegs equality. now the taliban threatens to take over year of progress. even though the taliban is promises more in the sharia law, experts warn of atrocities to come now that the american troops have left. joining me now, kimberly motley, an international civil rights attorney and human rights attorney. kimberly, thank you so much. i appreciate the conversation that we're going to have and you are here to discuss. good evening to you. you work in the afghanistan for years with women helping champion their rights. you're in touch with one afghan woman in kabul who worked with you and is hiding right now. i want the play some of what she sent you over the last few days. >> i'm done. my life is over, and i don't know -- i am not sure if i can give you messages anymore. thank you so much for everything, kim, but i think it
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doesn't going to work out, and you guys were super late to control things. it was -- it was way too late to control the situation. i am sorry, but your efforts don't mean anything anymore. kim, the thing is that if we stay here for one more hour, there is going to be a massacre. i'm telling you that there is going to be a massacre. everybody will be killed here. please, we are under attack. there is a big, big mob. they are attacking us. maybe there are some taliban fighters among them, and they are armed and there is like thousands of them. it's not just 200. it is thousands of them. i am really squcared, and i -- i -- i don't want to be here anymore because i'm really scared. i'm scared for my life and my
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family's life and also i'm dying of anxiety and stress. it's really stressful. it's really, really stressful and, i don't know what to do. >> listen, kimberly, while cnn can't independently verify what she's seeing she's clearly terrified. i know you can't disclose much about her, but how dangerous is it for these women and others like her. >> thank you for having me on the show, don. it's an extremely precarious situation of where women are today to literally last week. there are so many women that are just completely terrified for their lives, including my friend that you've heard on the audio recording. women are being turned away from going to school. women are being turned away from going to work. there are literally people that are painting over women's faces in public spaces. you know, it's extraordinarily
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just heartbreaking and terrifying what a lot of the women are going through now in afghanistan. >> she mentioned an attack or perhaps a mass advance. cnn doesn't have any reporting of mass reprisals of massacres in kabul, but there's to question women have good reason to be afraid there. you're calling this a human rights nightmare. talk about everything women will lose, you believe, under the taliban. >> this is definitely a human rights catastrophe. i mean, this is a human rights nuclear bomb. and so what i'm concerned about is what we're seeing in realtime, that we're seeing that women are being restricted with their movements. i know there are women journalists there that are being targeted. i know that there are high profile women right now that are currently under house arrest that you are not hearing from anymore that are not allowed to move. so, you know, women are --
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there's schools being closed, women being turned away from work. those women that are going out, they're being stopped at checkpoints and asked to look through their opponents to see what they have in their phones and some are being detained and their electrics are being taken away. i have had report of women being beaten in the streets already. so if this government wants any level of credibility, they need to allow women right now and show the world that women do have equal rights, that they do have the freedom of movement within afghanistan and outside of afghanistan by land and air. they need to release the high profile women that are currently under house arrest and allow them to have freedom of movement. freedom of movement without a male guardian, which is, you know, consistent with human rights. that can happen right now in realtime if this current
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government of afghanistan wants to show the world and wants to have legitimacy. they can do these things and we can see how serious they are in protecting women's rights as they said today in their press conference. >> came bkimberly, appreciate yu bringing light to this and informing us. please keep us updated and let us know what happens to the women, your friends in afghanistan you're speaking to. >> thank you for having me. the texas governor testing positive for covid after battling over mask mandates. will it change anything as covid ravages his state? ♪
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texas governor greg abbott testing positive for coronavirus, that after he has been fighting the people of his state and local officials to keep them from implementing public health measures like mask mandates. joining me now, megan ranny and ron brownstein. thank you for joining. dr. ranny, you first. we've got video of the governor at this packed public event full of maskless people in fairview, texas. that's a high transmission area. even though the governor is
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vaccinated, masks are recked for indoor. he's now isolating and taking antibody treatment and his staff says he's not showing symptoms. give me your reaction. >> my first reaction is, i hope he's okay. chances are he will be because he's vaccinated and vaccinations prevent hospitalizations and death. my second reaction is, oh, the irony. this is why we have been recommending masks because the delta variant does spread. i just hope he didn't get anyone sick last night at that event. >> ron, i mentioned that abbott's been one of the most vocal republican governors fighting local mandates. the tension has been high
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between governors in his state. you have a great article out about red sates and their blue cities. what is behind it is this. >> i think what we're seeing now is as i said in the storying a breaking point between red states and blue cities. the long arc of how we got here is virtually every metro area in the sun belt, has been growing more democratic in recent years and as that has happened, republican who is still control statewide power through their dom nantes of rural areas have gotten more aggressive about overturning the decisions of those local democratic officials to everything from plastic bags to police budgets. we saw that in big force last year when governors like ducey in arizona, skbefrp abbott all overrode digs by local officials to limit business hours, to
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require masks, and to have lockdowns. what we've seeing now, really, i think for the first time, is a full scale uprising in states like florida. certainly in texas and in phoenix. we have multiple local goths and school districts who have said they are going to impose mask requirements because they believe it is necessary for public health as cases explode in those states. and now we have battles that are barrelling ahead in courts and those states. ducey, desantis and abbott took actions to punish local governments that were mandates masks or vaccines. this is not over. there will be questions about whether the federal government needs to intervene. >> we are seeing these red states putting politics over public health but you are warning vaccinated blue states are at rescue of their own deadly delta surges in the next few months. why is that? >> it's for two reasons, don. the first is, even in highly
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vaccinated blue states, our vaccine rates are not universal. you still have large pockets of folks who are unvaccinated, and i will tell you, working in the e.r. that i am seeing increasing numbers of people who are unvaccinated coming in really sick with covid and getting hospitalized despite living in rhode island, a very blue state with good vaccination rates. it will still spread among the unvaccinated folks in our communities. the second thing is that every hospital in the country is short staffed. so even a small covid surge right now is going to put us over the edge. our emergency departments are bursting at the seams. our icus are bursting out the seams even without covid hospitalizations and icu stays. i'm worry about what will happen when kids go back to school, and when we all move indoors which we're bound to do when the
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weather gets colder. we're set up for a potentially scary fall if we don't start seeing changes in public health measures or see more folks get vaccinated. >> ron, if you look, 7 in 10 americans support vaxing in schools. that's an axos ipsos poll. why is it such a fight if 7 out of 10 people agree? >> 7 out of 10 even in texas support masking in schools according to another poll released today. the answer is because the republican base opposes it, and we are talking about officials in desantis, in kemp, in abbott who are following the trump strategy of kind of winning elections by mobilizing their base at all costs. as i pointed out in my story, the republican heartland, the rural areas are stagnant or shrinking. the metros are providing all the growth in states like georgia,
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arizona, and texas, and republicans have to remain competitive in those places. i think by pursuing such an ideological stand on masks, reflecting the priorities of their very conservative, rural, in many cases evangelical base, they're pushing the suburban voter as far as they can, and it will be fascinating to see whether they stand with them. >> got to be the last word. thank you both. appreciate it. vaccination rates among some communities of collar color alarmingly low in some areas of the country, including in places you may not expect. to send some files, asap! so basically i can pick the right plan for each employee... yeah i should've just led with that... with at&t business... you can pick the best plan for each employee and only pay for the features they need. (vo) how do you know when you've found your team? whether you're winning, or just doing your best.
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tonight, as a highly contagious delta variant spreads across the country, the cdc says nearly 30% of americans eligible to get the vaccine are still not vax thated and it's a particular problem in communities of color. trying to convince folks who are unvaccinated to roll up their sleeves. here's athena jones. >> reporter: on the streets of queens, new york. >> we want the talk about the vaccine. have you been vaccinated? >> reporter: these vaccine advocates are on a mission. >> we ain't preaching. we're just teaching. >> reporter: to talk to anyone about getting vaccinated. but not everyone is ready for a
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shot. >> it is just my personal and spiritual belief. >> absolutely. >> that god will take care of me. >> reporter: it's about listening, being seen, and making the case for a life saving vaccine. >> we are a part of the community, and we want to understand what their concerns are. >> reporter: the neighborhood with the lowest vaccination rate in new york city is right here, far rockaway. nearly a third are black, half are -- >> if you don't have covid, why take the shot? >> to prevent you from dying. >> like the flu shot. you don't have to take it. that's my feeling on it. >> reporter: citywide, just 28% of new yorkers between the ages of 18 and 44 are fully vaccinated. >> you're worried the about the vaccine itself. >> right, because it's going kill people off. >> the vaccine? >> yeah. >> reporter: the stakes are high. far rockaway is one of the hardest hit. 1 out of 7 people here has been
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diagnosed with the virus. >> i'm not, actually. >> reporter: sean muhammad hasn't gotten the shot, because he said he doesn't know how it will impact his crone's disease. you're not worried with delta or that? >> yeah, because any second i could be in the hospital, but there's no information online than have a doctor talk to me. >> reporter: for some it's financial. >> i'm a home health aide. >> reporter: she's worried about getting sick from the shot and missing work. >> i don't want take the vaccine and go back to work immediately because if i take sick day, my client have no way to get aid. >> reporter: reverend mullens will let his church be used as a vaccination site, but won't get the shot himself. >> i believe in people boosting their immune system. >> reporter: can i ask you what's your hesitance of taking
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it? >> i'm scare offend being chipped. >> scare offend being what? >> ip whiched. >> reporter: fighting lies, misinformation is key. >> it's extremely challenging fighting the misinformation. we're fighting facebook, we're fighting twitter, but we're also fighting people's misconceptions and distrust of the system >> one-time messaging is not enough. we have to go back. and i myself have three success stories personally lately, and i spoke to these people maybe a minimum of ten times each. >> reporter: so the work continues. >> over there. >> reporter: athena jones, cnn, far rockaway, new york. >> i live here in new york. and i hear it all the time. people stop me on the street and we have these conversations. why get it? i tell them to boost your immune system. they say -- that guy said i think people should be boosting their immune system. that's what the vaccine does. and the guy who said they'd
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rather get information online than a doctor? what are the credentials of the people online? there are no credentials. there's no fact checking. it's a free-for-all. the other person who said why get the vaccine if you don't have covid. so that you don't get covid. so come on, people. let's get real. get vaccinated. perhaps the best thing to do is for people who want to do things that vaccinated people do they should be vaccinated. and if they don't want to do those things, if they don't want to get vaccinated maybe they shouldn't be allowed to do those things. that's where we're headed if more people don't do that. get informed, people. get vaccinated. save your life and someone else's. we'll be right back.
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