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Indiana coronavirus updates for Friday, Sept. 3, 2021

The latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic from Friday, Sept. 3, 2021.

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 Hoosiers 12 and older 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.

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US booster plan faces delay

President Joe Biden's plans to start delivery of booster shots by Sept. 20 for most Americans who received the COVID-19 vaccines are facing new complications that could delay the availability of third doses for those who received the Moderna vaccine, administration officials said Friday. 

Biden announced last month that his administration was planning for boosters to be available for all Americans who received the mRNA vaccines in an effort to provide more enduring protection against the coronavirus, pending approvals from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. 

Those agencies, though, are awaiting critical data before signing off on the third doses, with Moderna's vaccine increasingly seen as unlikely to make the Sept. 20 milestone.

According to one official, Moderna produced inadequate data for the FDA and CDC to approve the third dose of its vaccine and FDA has requested additional data that is likely to delay those boosters into October. Pfizer, which is further along in the review process, in part because of data collected from the vaccine's use in Israel, is still expected to be approved for a third dose for all by Sept. 20. A key FDA panel is to review Pfizer's data on boosters on Sept. 17.

Data for boosters on Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine won't be available for months, since that shot wasn't approved until February, officials said.

Indianapolis Public Library to require masks again

Indy PL is once again requiring guests to wear a face mask while visiting. The mandate will go into effect Tuesday, Sept. 7.

The requirement goes for all visitors age 2 and older, regardless of vaccination status.

ISDH update

The Indiana State Department of Health reports 5,936 more Hoosiers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The total number of vaccinated people in Indiana is 3,119,002.

The state also reported 20 more deaths from COVID-19 and 5,079 new cases. The death toll in Indiana from COVID-19 is now at 14,121.

Labor Day weekend vaccine clinics in Marion County

The Marion County Public Health Department is urging everyone 12 and older get their COVID-19 vaccine.

MCPHD will hold several vaccine clinics through Labor Day weekend:

  • Friday, Sept. 3 | Julia Carson Transit Center, 201 E. Washington Street | 8 a.m. - noon
  • Friday, Sept. 3 | MCPHD vaccine clinic, 9503 E. 33rd St | 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 4 | Indy Labor Fest, Monument Circle | beginning at 11 a.m.

The clinics will be administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

The pop-up vaccination clinic at the Carson Transit Center will connect those who ride IndyGo to the vaccine, making it easier for people on the go.  

All participants will receive a free 31-day IndyGo paper pass at the clinic immediately following their vaccination. The Moderna vaccine will also be available to anyone 18 years of age and older. 

Additionally, the health department will host pop-up vaccination clinics at the Carson Transit Center downtown every Wednesday in September – Sept. 8-29, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 39.54 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 3:30 a.m. Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 643,600 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 219.07 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 4.54 million deaths. More than 5.37 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide.

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.

US hospitals hit with nurse staffing crisis amid COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a nurse staffing crisis that is forcing many U.S. hospitals to pay top dollar to get the help they need to handle the crush of patients this summer.

The problem, health leaders say, is twofold: Nurses are quitting or retiring, exhausted or demoralized by the crisis. And many are leaving for lucrative temporary jobs with traveling-nurse agencies that can pay $5,000 or more a week.

It's gotten to the point where doctors are saying, “Maybe I should quit being a doctor and go be a nurse,” said Dr. Phillip Coule, chief medical officer at Georgia's Augusta University Medical Center, which has on occasion seen 20 to 30 resignations in a week from nurses taking traveling jobs.

“And then we have to pay premium rates to get staff from another state to come to our state,” Coule said.

The average pay for a traveling nurse has soared from roughly $1,000 to $2,000 per week before the pandemic to $3,000 to $5,000 now, said Sophia Morris, a vice president at San Diego-based health care staffing firm Aya Healthcare. She said Aya has 48,000 openings for traveling nurses to fill.

Health leaders say nurses are bone-tired and frustrated from being asked to work overtime, from getting screamed at and second-guessed by members of the community, and from dealing with people who chose not to get vaccinated or wear a mask. 

“The nurses say, ’Hey, if I am not going to be treated with respect, I might as well go be a travel nurse,'" said Patricia Pittman, director of the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at George Washington University. “'That way I can go work in a hellhole for 13 weeks, but then I can take off a couple months or three months and go do whatever.'"

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