Good morning, friends of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: As people with severely weakened immune systems seek out additional vaccine protection against COVID-19, soon all vaccinated Americans should be eligible for booster shots.

Then: The Plymouth Quaker Meeting is trying to rescue an Afghanistan-based interpreter with ties to the Montgomery County group.

And: Joel Embiid scored a $196 million supermax contact extension, which should keep the All-Star center in a Sixers uniform through the 2026-27 season.

— Tommy Rowan (@tommyrowan, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

Patients at a South Jersey clinic receive COVID-19 vaccine booster shots; a move slated to become more widespread

At Gloucester County’s vaccination clinic, a third COVID-19 shot is administered only to people with severely suppressed immune systems -- people who may have had a weak response to their original vaccine doses and could need an extra shot to help boost their defenses as the delta variant spreads.

But third doses may soon be available to everyone already fully vaccinated.

The Biden administration will reportedly announce that all vaccinated Americans will be eligible for a booster shot eight months after the second dose. And the booster shots could be administered as soon as mid-September.

Inquirer reporter Jason Laughlin has the full report.

Philly-area Quakers attempt to help rescue Afghanistan-trapped friend

Somewhere inside Kabul, capital city of Afghanistan that was violently taken under Taliban control, Bashir is hiding.

But the U.S,-allied interpreter, whose surname is being withheld for safety reasons, has some Philly-area supporters working to get him out.

David DiFabio, member of the Plymouth Quaker Meeting in Montgomery County and an Air Force veteran, met Bashir years ago when he worked as a civilian communications contractor in Afghanistan. Now DiFabio and his fellow Quakers, who helped build a girls’ school in Afghanistan, are working to bring Bashir stateside.

Reporter Jeff Gammage has a full account of the group’s rescue mission.

What you need to know today

  • The 76ers signed Joel Embiid on Tuesday to a four-year extension, worth $196 million, all but ensuring the 27-year-old superstar anchors a playoff-ready roster and remains the franchise player.

  • The controversial Christopher Columbus statue will remain at Marconi Plaza in South Philly, a judge ruled Tuesday, reversing a decision by city officials to have it removed.

  • Philly schools will most likely require COVID-19 vaccinations for all of its 20,000-plus employees, but not to start the school year. Meanwhile, Bucks County health officials are now recommending all students wear masks in school, reversing an earlier recommendation.

  • Wes Glon, Penn State’s longtime fencing coach, has been suspended for three years by the nonprofit that monitors abuse in Olympic sports. The action followed a complaint by a North Carolina coach, claiming Glon suppressed her sexual-misconduct complaint against one of the Penn State assistants.

  • An anticrime advocate called on Philadelphia officials to bring in the National Guard a day after five shootings claimed the lives of two men and injured seven other people.

  • And West Chester University will randomly test students who don’t submit proof of vaccination.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Simple and effective mural from @nero_one, elegantly captured by @westpopneighbors.

Tag your Instagram posts with #OurPhilly, and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature here and give you a shout-out.

That's interesting

😋 Where are the best roast pork sandwiches in Philly? Here’s a list, in no particular order, of the top sandwiches in the area.

🦅 The Eagles’ interest in Deshaun Watson might be apparent, but they’re likely in a waiting game. Meanwhile, after being sidelined for more than two weeks with a knee injury, Eagles rookie first-round pick DeVonta Smith looked good at practice Tuesday.

🏠This year, the three most popular features in home listings nationwide are garages, walk-in closets, and full baths. But what buyers are looking for, and what sellers are pushing, is space.

🍅 The farm stand at Rainbow Tomatoes Garden in East Greenville in Montgomery County is a paradise, says restaurant critic Craig LaBan, finding more than 300 varieties of heirloom tomatoes.

⚾ Here are the top story lines to follow as the Phillies wrap up the 2021 season: Aaron Nola’s struggles, Zach Eflin’s knee, and Alec Bohm’s role.

Opinions

“Implicit bias in health care is real. Studies show that Black patients have better outcomes when their physicians have a similar racial background. But when it comes to increasing the number of people entering medical school, money too often is a factor,” writes columnist Jenice Armstrong, highlighting a student who despite losing his brother to gun violence last month is still working to become a doctor.

  • Over the course of a 20-year conflict, many educators and activists sought attention and sympathy for Afghan women, while also rejecting a military approach to “saving” them, writes associate political science professor Nandini Deo. Now that the Taliban have taken control, Deo says it’s time for more Americans to listen to these civilian experts, and Afghans themselves, to support Afghan women and girls alongside their families: “This time let’s listen to Afghan voices and priorities.”

  • Amy Kennedy, a mental health advocate, says to help ensure that all of New Jersey’s youth get access to the long-term mental health care that they desperately need after a mentally and emotionally fraught year and a half, the state will need to secure other funding sources.

What we're reading

  • The New York Times Magazine’s Ethicist columnist considers an art therapist who works at a hospital. There, he invited patients to participate in an exercise based on the practices of several Indigenous American cultures. In other words, he helped patients find their “spirit animals.” But he’s a white male, and a patient questioned whether it was “cultural appropriation.” Is she right?

  • A Philly Mag writer reached out to a sports psychologist when her “sports-fan problem” was getting worse. “I’m watching more games,” Sandy Hingston said, “and enjoying them less.”

  • On Jan. 22, 2020, a five-member Massachusetts Department of Correction tactical team entered Cell 15 at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, the state’s only maximum-security prison. The Boston Globe Spotlight Team, after months of investigation, was able to compile an account of what happened there. What emerged was a chilling portrait.

Photo of the Day