INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Friday's latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic, including the latest news on COVID-19 vaccinations and testing in Indiana. Registrations for the vaccine are now open for select groups through the Indiana State Department of Health. This story will be updated over the course of the day with more news on the COVID-19 pandemic.
State reports 17 deaths, 31K more fully vaccinated
The Indiana State Department of Health reported Friday that 17 additional people have died from COVID-19. Those deaths occurred between April 21, 2021 and Thursday. Indiana has now lost 12,983 people to the virus.
Labs recorded 1,189 new coronavirus cases. A total of 9,970,007 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to ISDH since Feb. 26, 2020.
ISDH also reported 31,850 new individuals are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 as of Friday morning. The state now has registered 2,077,914 people who have received either the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine or both shots of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccination series.
As of today, a total of 4,496,606 doses have been administered in Indiana.
When can kids get the COVID vaccine? Key meeting set for Wednesday
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize the vaccine for young adults age 12 and older by early next week.
The FDA action would then be followed by the advisory committee's meeting, currently set for Wednesday, May 12. A draft agenda posted online says a vote would happen early Wednesday afternoon.
WHO panel OKs emergency use of China's Sinopharm vaccine
The World Health Organization has given its authorization for emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by China’s Sinopharm. The decision by a WHO technical advisory group opens the possibility that the Sinopharm vaccine could be included into the U.N.-backed COVAX program in coming weeks or months, and distributed through UNICEF and the WHO’s regional office for the Americas.
Sinopharm has released very little data publicly, aside from efficacy numbers for its two vaccine shots, one developed by its Beijing Institute of Biological Products and the other by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products.
The Beijing shot is one that was considered by the WHO for an emergency use listing.
Pfizer seeks full approval of vaccine from FDA
Drugmaker Pfizer has begun the process to earn full U.S. regulatory approval for its COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 16 and older.
That gives Pfizer and German partner BioNTech a shot at winning the first full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The two companies say they’ve started a “rolling submission” of data from their studies of the two-dose vaccine, first giving the FDA data from laboratory and human testing. That includes their latest analysis from a key late-stage study that followed the participations for up to six months after they received their second dose. The companies plan to soon submit data on manufacturing quality controls and the factories making the vaccine.
Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said in a statement that the companies are aiming to win full regulatory approval “in the coming months.”
The shot received emergency use authorization from the FDA on Dec. 11. Since then, the companies have delivered more than 170 million doses across the U.S., and many more to other countries that also have authorized emergency use amid the coronavirus pandemic. Such emergency authorizations only last until countries declare an end to the emergency, so the vaccine must undergo a more stringent review by regulators to earn full approval for continued use.
Dr. Ugur Sahin, co-founder of BioNTech, said the submission “is an important cornerstone of achieving long-term herd immunity and containing COVID-19 in the future.”
The partners also applied to the FDA to expand the current emergency authorization to people ages 12 to 15. They plan to seek full approval for that age group once they have the required six months of follow-up data from the volunteers tested in that group. They’re also testing the shot in younger children and pregnant women.
US job growth slows sharply in sign of hiring struggles
America’s employers added just 266,000 jobs last month, sharply lower than in March and a sign that some businesses are struggling to find enough workers as the economic recovery rapidly strengthens.
The economic rebound from the pandemic recession has been so fast that many businesses, particularly in the hard-hit hospitality sector — which includes restaurants, bars and hotels — have been caught flat-footed and unable to fill all their job openings. Some unemployed people have also been reluctant to look for work because they fear catching the virus.
Others have entered new occupations rather than return to their old jobs. And many women, especially working mothers, have had to leave the workforce to care for children.
In addition, construction companies and manufacturers, especially automakers, have been left short of parts as a result of clogged supply chains and have had to slow production for now. Both sectors pulled back on hiring in April.
With viral cases declining and states and localities easing restrictions, businesses have added jobs for four straight months, the Labor Department said Friday. But as more people have begun looking for work, more people are being counted as unemployed: In April, the unemployment rate ticked up from 6% to 6.1% in March.
Vaccination clinics continuing IMS throughout May
The Indiana State Department of Health and Indianapolis Motor Speedway will make it possible for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 throughout the month of May.
People who then get vaccinated at the track will get a free T-shirt to commemorate the occasion.
Vaccinations will be available in the IndyCar parking lot at 4551 West 16th St., Indianapolis, across from Gate 2, on the following schedule:
- May 10, 17 and 24: Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- May 11-16: Second dose Moderna vaccines for anyone who received their first dose at IMS last month. The Pfizer vaccine will also be available these days for anyone seeking a first dose.
- May 21: Second dose of Pfizer vaccine for individuals who attended family day on April 30.
India cases hit new record as calls grow for strict lockdown
With coronavirus cases surging to record levels, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing growing pressure to impose a harsh nationwide lockdown amid a debate whether restrictions imposed by individual states are enough.
Many medical experts, opposition leaders and some of the Supreme Court judges have suggested the lockdown seems to be the only option with the virus raging in cities and towns.
Hospitals are forced to turn patients away while relatives scramble to find oxygen. Crematoriums and burial grounds are struggling to handle the dead.
On Friday, India recorded a new record of 414,188 confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, Its tally has risen to more than 21.4 million since the pandemic began with faint hopes of the curve going down quickly.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 32.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 4:30 a.m. ET Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 580,000 deaths in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 156.1 million confirmed cases with more than 3.2 million deaths and 92.3 million recoveries.
The actual number of people infected by the virus around the world is believed to be much higher — perhaps 10 times higher in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — given testing limitations and the many mild cases that have gone unreported or unrecognized.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness like pneumonia, or death.