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Indiana coronavirus updates for Friday, Sept. 24, 2021

The latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic from Friday, Sept. 24, 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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State reports 5,597 more full vaccinations, 30 additional deaths

The Indiana State Department of Health reported that 5,597 more Indiana residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Friday morning. The total number of Hoosiers now considered fully vaccinated is 3,237,813.

ISDH also reported Monday that 3,255 more Hoosiers have tested positive for COVID-19.

The state also reported 30 additional deaths from COVID-19 that occurred between Sept. 13 and Thursday. Indiana has lost 14,895 residents since the pandemic began.  

Purdue University vaccination rate hits 85%

Purdue University announced Friday that its campus COVID-19 vaccination rate climbed to 85%.

When Purdue surveyed students, faculty and staff last year, 80% responded that they would be willing and planned to get vaccinated against COVID-19. It hit that number Aug. 26.

Since that point, another 5% of students, staff and faculty have been vaccinated against coronavirus. That comes out to nearly 47,000 of the 55,430 members of the Purdue community.

The positivity rare on the campus has fallen to 1.2%. Of those who test positive, 99% are either asymptomatic or have very mild, mild or moderate symptoms, according to Purdue.

All incoming students were given the option to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and upload that documentation status to the Purdue vaccination portal or to participate in routine surveillance testing, which could be as frequently as weekly.

There were 27 students who were not vaccinated or did not provide proof of vaccination and faced suspension for missing three surveillance testing appointments. Of those, 18 are in a diversion program, one has left Purdue and eight were suspended.

“What we’ve found is that most, in fact nearly all, of the students who are noncompliant have either been confused or made innocent mistakes,” said Katie Sermersheim, associate vice provost and dean of students. “We are working very closely to help them fulfill their obligations and remain in good status at the university.”

Purdue is requiring everyone on campus to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. The rule went into effect on Aug. 2 and it applies to all indoor spaces on campus.

Eligible Hoosiers can now get the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot

Booster shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are now available in Indiana.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday endorsed booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans.

The Indiana Department of Health announced Friday that eligible Hoosiers who want to get a booster shot can go to www.ourshot.in.gov and search for a site that has the Pfizer vaccine, which is designated by PVAX, or call 211 for assistance.

The booster dose is available and recommended for the following people, according to the CDC:

  • Individuals ages 65 and older and residents of long-term care facilities should receive a booster dose.
  • Individuals ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions that put them at high risk of severe COVID-19 should receive a booster dose.
  • Individuals ages 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster dose, based on their individual benefits and risks.
  • Individuals ages 18 to 64 who are at high risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of an occupational or institutional risk of exposure may receive a booster shot based on their individual benefits and risks.

The extra dose can only be given once they are at least six months past their second Pfizer shot. Those who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines are not eligible for the booster shots at this time.

Hoosiers are encouraged to bring their vaccination card to their appointment to make sure the booster dose is added.

CDC advisers backing COVID-19 booster shots for older, vulnerable Americans

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday endorsed booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans, opening a major new phase in the U.S vaccination drive against COVID-19. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on a series of recommendations from a panel of advisers late Thursday.

The advisers said boosters should be offered to people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those ages 50 to 64 who have risky underlying health problems. The extra dose would be given once they are at least six months past their last Pfizer shot.

However, Walensky decided to make one recommendation that the panel had rejected.

The panel on Thursday voted against saying that people can get a booster if they are ages 18 to 64 years and are health care workers or have another job that puts them at increased risk of being exposed to the virus.

But Walensky disagreed and put that recommendation back in, noting that such a move aligns with a FDA booster authorization decision earlier this week.

The panel had offered the option of a booster for those ages 18 to 49 who have chronic health problems and want one. But the advisers refused to go further and open boosters to otherwise healthy frontline health care workers who aren't at risk of severe illness but want to avoid even a mild infection.

Indiana State University requiring vaccinations or tests in 2022

Indiana State University will require that all students and staff show proof of vaccination by Jan. 1 or be tested each week for COVID-19. 

Deborah Curtis, the school's president, made the announcement Thursday.

Indiana State in Terre Haute has been encouraging vaccinations this fall but has not made them mandatory up to this point. However, masks are required indoors.

Some students whose school work takes them off campus must be regularly tested or get the vaccine, starting Oct. 1.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 42.67 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 684,300 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 230.61 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 4.72 million deaths. More than 6.02 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.

Free testing and vaccine clinic underway at IMS

Free COVID-19 testing and vaccinations are available today in the parking lot across from Gate 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

The clinic will run from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through Oct. 30.

The Indiana Department of Health is deploying mobile clinics to the following counties this week to provide testing and vaccinations: Allen, Clark, Clay, Delaware, Fayette, Fulton, Gibson, Hamilton, Hendricks, Henry, Howard, Jackson, Jefferson, Lake, LaPorte, Marion, Marshall, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Putnam, Ripley, Starke, Tippecanoe, Vigo, Wabash, Warren, Washington, Wayne, White and Whitley.

Hoosiers in the ZIP codes in which the clinics are located will receive a text message or email informing them of the locations and services offered.

US reaches 55% fully vaccinated against COVID-19

The U.S. reached a milestone Thursday as 55% of the population has been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced.

The news comes the same day that CDC advisers recommended booster doses of Pfizer's vaccine for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans — despite doubts the extra shots will do much to slow the pandemic.

The CDC website said 182.5 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, which is two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot.

More than 212 million people — 64% of the population — have received at least one vaccine dose. 

Kids age 12 are the youngest currently authorized to get the Pfizer vaccine. If you just look at Americans 12 and older, the rate of full vaccination is 64.3%.

The adult vaccination rate is 66.2% and for those 65 and older, the rate is 83%.

Pfizer said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon — a key step toward beginning vaccinations for youngsters.