INDIANAPOLIS — Tuesday'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 state is reporting 582 new COVID-19 cases for a total of 662,750 confirmed cases in Indiana.
There were also 31 additional deaths, which brings the Indiana death toll to 12,192.
ISDH hosting 3 mass vaccination clinics for Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine
The Indiana State Department of Health is hosting three mass vaccination clinics to help get as many qualifying Hoosiers vaccinated against COVID-19.
The vaccination clinics will be offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration last week and is being shipped across the country.
Here is the clinic schedule:
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- 4790 W. 16th St., Indianapolis
- March 5-7
- 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Enter through main gate off 16th Street; participants will remain in their cars for their vaccines.
Ivy Tech Community College
- 8204 County Road 311, Sellersburg
- March 12-13
- 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Participants will remain in their cars for their vaccines.
University of Notre Dame
- Compton Family Ice Arena
- 100 Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame
- March 26-27
- 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
ISDH said more dates may be added to each of the above sites depending on demand and vaccine availability.
All clinics require advance registration through ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211. No walk-ups will be permitted.
Additional mass vaccination sites in other locations will be planned as more vaccine becomes available.
Merck to help produce rival Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine
Drugmaker Merck & Co. will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved coronavirus vaccine in an effort to expand supply more quickly, a Biden administration official confirmed Tuesday.
The announcement comes as the White House looks to speed the production of the single-dose vaccine. Officials have said Johnson & Johnson faced unexpected production issues with its vaccine and produced only 3.9 million doses ahead of it receiving emergency use authorization on Saturday. The company says it is on pace to deliver 100 million doses by the end of June.
The assistance from Merck was expected to help J&J meet its production commitments and expand supply even further, but the administration did not immediately provide specifics.
Hoosiers 55 and older eligible to sign up for COVID-19 vaccine
Hoosiers 55 and older can now register to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Indiana State Department of Health expanded the eligibility Tuesday morning.
The Indiana State Department of Health's registration website listed people 55 years or older as eligible to sign up to get the vaccine Tuesday morning.
To date, more than 1 million Hoosiers have received a first dose of vaccine, and more than 500,000 are fully vaccinated.
Click here for information on how to register.
Hydroxychloroquine should not be used to prevent COVID-19, WHO panel says
The anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine should not be used to prevent coronavirus, according to a new recommendation from the World Health Organization.
In a variety of trials involving more than 6,000 patients, the international health agency found that the drug had a "small or no effect on mortality and admission to hospital." The organization's findings were published Tuesday in the BMJ medical journal.
From the research, a panel of WHO officials decided to make a "strong recommendation" against the use of hydroxychloroquine for individuals who do not have COVID-19.
The panel concluded that almost all people "would not consider this drug worthwhile" to fight the virus that has spread throughout the world. Officials ruled that the anti-inflammatory drug should no longer be a research priority and instead, resources should be "oriented to evaluate other more promising drugs to prevent COVID-19."
The recommendations were meant to provide "trustworthy and living guidance to rapidly inform policy and practice worldwide during the covid-19 pandemic."
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 28.66 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 3:30 a.m. ET Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 514,000 deaths in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 114.46 million confirmed cases with more than 2.53 million deaths and 64.65 million recoveries.
The real 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.
Hamilton County switching vaccines starting Tuesday
The Hamilton County Health Department will start administering doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday, March 2. Up until now, the site at the 4H Fairgrounds in Noblesville had been administering the Moderna vaccine.
The state wants to use the Moderna vaccine for mobile units in rural areas and asked Hamilton County to switch.
The state is also receiving more doses of Pfizer, which will allow the Hamilton County Health Department to triple vaccinations.
"It's going to be a challenging few weeks as we transition, but we welcome the challenge," said Christian Walker, emergency preparedness coordinator. "It means we'll be able to get more vaccines into the arms of more Hoosiers."
The switch in vaccines does not affect those who received their first doses of Moderna at the 4H Fairgrounds. The health department will provide second doses of Moderna through the end of March.
Twitter users who spread COVID vaccine misinformation face permanent ban
Twitter said it has started applying labels to tweets "that may contain misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines" in addition to its overall effort to remove "the most harmful" misleading COVID-19 information in general.
The label reads, "This tweet may be misleading. Find out why health officials consider COVID-19 vaccines safe for most people." It may link to curated content, public health information or Twitter's rules.
Beyond that, Twitter is implementing a strike system aimed at repeat offenders. Users will be notified when a label or Tweet removal may lead to additional action by the platform. If it continues, there will be five strikes against the user:
1: No account-level action
2: Account locked for 12 hours
3: Account locked for another 12 hours
4: Account locked for seven days
5: Permanent suspension
Twitter says it has removed more than 8,400 tweets and challenged 11.5 million accounts worldwide since December over misleading COVID-19 information.