INDIANAPOLIS — 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 Indiana State Department of Health. This story will be updated over the course of the day with more news on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Indiana State Department of Health reports1,256 more positive cases and 20 additional deaths from COVID-19. Indiana has recorded a total of 688,916 positive cases and 12,662 confirmed deaths.
The state is also nearing 1.2 million Hoosiers who are fully vaccinated. As of 5 a.m. Friday, 1,197,229 individuals were fully vaccinated — 34,823 of those were newly reported.
More than 1.7 million Hoosiers have received at least their first shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, while more than 1.1 million have received both. More than 72,000 Hoosiers have received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson to begin testing COVID-19 vaccine on younger teens
Pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson said on Friday it would begin testing its single-dose coronavirus vaccine on adolescents ages 12 to 17.
The company said in a statement that the Phase 2a study, which has been ongoing since September, was initially designed to evaluate the safety of the vaccine candidate in "healthy adults aged 18 to 55 years, as well as adults aged 65 years and older."
Now, the study is being expanded to include "a small number" of older children and teens. It will first test the COVID-19 vaccine on 16- and 17-year-olds before expanding to a larger group of kids.
White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci recently told lawmakers he believes vaccines will be available for older children beginning in the fall, but elementary school aged kids may need to wait until next year. Moderna and Pfizer recently announced pediatric trials for children under 12 years old.
US employers add 916,000 jobs in March
America’s employers unleashed a burst of hiring in March, adding 916,000 jobs in a sign that a sustained recovery from the pandemic recession is taking hold as vaccinations accelerate, stimulus checks flow through the economy and businesses increasingly reopen.
The March increase — the most since August — was nearly double February’s gain of 468,000, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate declined from 6.2% to 6%.
Even with last month’s robust increase, the economy remains more than 8 million jobs short of the number it had before the pandemic erupted a little over a year ago. But with the recovery widely expected to strengthen, many forecasters predict enough hiring in the coming months to recover nearly all those lost jobs by year’s end.
The increasingly bright outlook for the labor market follows a year of epic job losses, waves of coronavirus infections and small business closures. Numerous signs suggest that the economy is improving. Consumer confidence in March reached its highest level since the pandemic intensified.
Colts, Meijer team up for vaccine clinic at Lucas Oil Stadium
The Indianapolis Colts and Meijer are teaming up to help vaccinate Hoosiers against COVID-19.
Lucas Oil Stadium will host a two-day vaccine clinic on Friday, April 23 and Saturday, April 24 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. both days.
The clinic is free and open to all Indiana residents 18 years old and older.
Health officials will administer the first dose of the Moderna vaccine at the clinic.
People must pre-register to secure an appointment. The vaccine supply is limited to 4,000 doses across both days, so appointments will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Text "COLTS" to 75049 or click here to register by Monday, April 19 at 4 p.m.
Registration is not the same as booking an appointment. Once registration closes on April 19, everyone who signed up will get a phone call or text message with a link to schedule an appointment.
Appointments will not be available to schedule until Tuesday, April 20.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 30.53 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 3:30 a.m. ET Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 553,000 deaths in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 129.63 million confirmed cases with more than 2.82 million deaths and 73.46 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.
MCPHD closed Friday
The Marion County Public Health Department and the Health and Hospital Corporation will both be closed to observe Good Friday. The health department's COVID-19 test and vaccination sites will not be open.
Regular business hours will resume Monday, April 5.
IMS mass vaccine clinic continues Friday
The Indiana State Department of Health is partnering with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indiana University Health to offer more multi-day mass vaccination clinics.
Appointments will be available from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on the following days:
- April 1-3
- April 13-18
- April 24-30
As of Friday morning, all appointments for April 1-3 and 13-18 have been filled. The next available appointments are on Sunday, April 25.
The clinic will have the Johnson & Johnson vaccine available for those who sign up. The state expects to give as many as 6,000 shots per day at the clinic.
As many as 200 IU health care workers will be helping at the track, in addition to the national guard.
Because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has only received FDA approval for adults 18 and older, only those people will be able to get vaccinated at IMS.
Go to ourshot.in.gov to sign up for an appointment.
Report: CDC walks back director's claim 'vaccinated people do not carry' COVID
A day after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky suggested people vaccinated against COVID-19 would not become infected with or transmit the disease, the CDC backtracked the comments.
"Our data from the CDC today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don't get sick," Walensky told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Wednesday. "And that it's not just in the clinical trials, it's also in real-world data."
The comments were particularly notable because just two days earlier, Walensky spoke of "impending doom" she was feeling due to cases starting to tick back up. It was something she reiterated to Maddow.
"I'm watching us have increased numbers of hyper-transmissible variants. I'm watching our travel numbers tick up, and the sense is, I have seen what it looks like to anticipate the oncoming surge," Walensky said.
On Thursday, the CDC told the New York Times that Walensky was speaking "broadly" in the Maddow interview.
“It’s possible that some people who are fully vaccinated could get COVID-19," a CDC spokesperson told the Times. "The evidence isn’t clear whether they can spread the virus to others. We are continuing to evaluate the evidence."
The CDC is continuing to encourage Americans to wear masks and to social distance when possible.
Although the CDC says the risk of exposure and transmission still exists, a "real world" study by the agency released Monday found the vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna were highly effective at 90% after two doses.
Stimulus checks for Social Security beneficiaries being processed Friday
The IRS said another batch of stimulus checks from the recently-passed COVID relief bill have started arriving in bank accounts and that the first payments for Social Security and other federal beneficiaries who did not file 2019 or 2020 tax returns will be processed starting Friday and arrive next week.
Four million payments went out last week. About half should have appeared in bank accounts via direct deposit on Wednesday. The rest were mailed as a paper check or a prepaid debit card, so people waiting on their money should closely check their mail.
That brings the total number of payments sent out to 130 million since the American Rescue Plan was signed on March 11.
This new batch also includes the first group of supplemental payments for people who may have gotten a partial payment in March based on their 2019 tax returns, but are actually due more because of an income change reported on their 2020 tax returns.
"These 'plus-up' payments could include a situation where a person’s income dropped in 2020 compared to 2019, or a person had a new child or dependent on their 2020 tax return, and other situations," the IRS said.