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Indiana coronavirus updates for Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021

The latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic from Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Wednesday'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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Pfizer says COVID booster shot warranted after 6 months

Pfizer is recommending U.S. regulators approve a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine at approximately six months after the second dose, according to a document provided to the Food and Drug Administration ahead of a key meeting.

The FDA posted the documents online on Wednesday, two days before scientific advisers are scheduled to publicly debate Pfizer's evidence for COVID-19 booster shots.

In making the case for booster shots, Pfizer pointed to a real-world study from Israel that showed a third dose of the vaccine restored COVID-19 protection to 95%. Additionally, Pfizer said data from its own trials showed vaccine efficacy declined by about 6% every two months after trial participants received their second dose of the shot.

Carmel's Civic Theatre requiring vaccination proof

Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre is requiring proof of vaccination to attend a performance. The policy is for those 12 and older and begins Oct. 4. As an alternative to vaccination, and for patrons 5-11, proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR/molecular test taken within 72 hours of the event will be permitted.

Starting Sept. 20, masks or other appropriate facial coverings will be required for anyone age 3 or older attending an event. The exception is for eating or drinking. 

Ticketholders who are unable or unwilling to meet the masking, vaccination or test requirements for entry are eligible until Oct. 15 to request refunds on any tickets purchased before noon Sept. 15.

ISDH update

The Indiana State Department of Health reports 68 more COVID-19 deaths and 4,733 new cases. The state's death toll is at 14,550.

The state also reported 5,437 more Hoosiers are fully vaccinated. More than 3.1 million people in Indiana have been vaccinated.

US Army to require active duty soldiers to be vaccinated by Dec. 15

The United States Army on Tuesday announced it's beginning the process to comply with the Secretary of Defense’s order requiring service members to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The Army is expecting all active duty soldiers to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 15, 2021, and all Reserve and National Guard units to be fully vaccinated by June 30, 2022.

Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, the U.S. Army surgeon general, said in a statement that the vaccine is "quite literally a matter of life and death for our Soldiers, their families and the communities in which we live."

He added: "Case counts and deaths continue to be concerning as the Delta variant spreads, which makes protecting the force through mandatory vaccination a health and readiness priority for the total Army.”

In August, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III ordered service leaders to “impose ambitious timelines for implementation” after the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine received full approval from the U.S  Food and Drug Administration.

The U.S. Army said that soldiers who refuse to get vaccinated will first be "counseled by their chain of command and medical providers," but anyone who continues to not comply could face "administrative or non-judicial punishment – to include relief of duties or discharge."

WHO reports big drop in new coronavirus infections

The World Health Organization said there were about 4 million coronavirus cases reported globally last week, marking the first major drop in new infections in more than two months. In recent weeks, there have been about 4.4 million new COVID-19 cases.

In its weekly update released on Tuesday, the U.N. health agency said every region in the world saw a drop in COVID-19 cases compared to the previous week.

Although the worldwide number of deaths decreased to about 62,000, with the sharpest decline in Southeast Asia, there was a 7% increase in deaths in Africa. The highest numbers of cases were seen in the U.S., Britain, India, Iran and Turkey and the highly contagious delta variant has now been reported in 180 countries.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 41.36 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 663,900 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 225.82 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 4.64 million deaths. More than 5.75 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.

Fauci says he 'would support' COVID-19 vaccine mandate for air travel

Dr. Anthony Fauci says he "would support" mandating that people be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to go on a flight. 

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), made the comments in an interview posted to Instagram on Monday by The Skimm.

"If you want to get on a plane and travel with other people ... you should be vaccinated," Fauci said in response to a question on whether he'd support vaccine mandates for air travel.

Credit: AP
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 20, 2021 (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

In response to Fauci's comments, the U.S. Travel Association said while the organization supports people getting vaccinated, they have "long maintained that there should be no mandatory vaccination requirement for domestic travel." 

"Such a policy would have an unfair, negative impact on families with young children who are not yet eligible to get the vaccine," the organization said in a statement.

The nation's top infectious disease expert told The Washington Post on Monday that he's supportive of a mandate, but isn't proposing one.

IndyGo hosting vaccine clinics each Wednesday in September

IndyGo is encouraging everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by giving away free access to the public transportation service for one month.

A vaccine clinic will be held at the Julia M. Carson Transit Center at 201 E. Washington St. Wednesdays in September — the 15th, 22nd and 29th — from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Everyone who gets vaccinated will receive a free 31-day IndyGo paper pass at the clinic immediately following their vaccination. 

All three vaccines will be available, including the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for anyone 18 years and older, and the Pfizer vaccine for anyone 16 years and older.

IndyGo's future headquarters at 9503 E. 33rd St. is still open for free vaccinations Tuesdays through Saturdays in partnership with the Marion County Public Health Department.

Eskenazi Health partners with churches on vaccine clinics

Eskenazi Health will partner with Eastern Star Church, Resurrection Community Church, New Direction Church and Purpose of Life Ministries on COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

September vaccine event dates and times:

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021
    Location: New Direction Church, 5330 E. 38th St., Indianapolis, Ind. 46205
    Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Date: Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021
    Location: Resurrection Community Church, 2502 E. 38th St., Indianapolis, Ind. 46218
    Time: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

October vaccine event dates and times:

  • Date: Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021
    Location: Eastern Star Church – CARE Center, 5719 Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis, Ind. 46218
    Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Date: Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021
    Location: New Direction Church, 5330 E. 38th St., Indianapolis, Ind. 46205
    Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Date: Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021
    Location: Resurrection Community Church, 2502 E.38th St., Indianapolis, Ind. 46218
    Time: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Date: Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021
    Location: Purpose of Life Ministries, 3705 W. Kessler Blvd. N. Dr., Indianapolis, Ind. 46222
    Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

November vaccine event dates and times:

  • Date: Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021
    Location: Purpose of Life Ministries, 3705 W. Kessler Blvd. N. Dr., Indianapolis, Ind. 46222
    Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.