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Indiana coronavirus updates for Monday, Oct. 25, 2021

The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic from Monday, Oct. 25, 2021.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Monday'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 details new international COVID-19 travel requirements

Two weeks before a new vaccination requirement kicks in for most foreign travelers to the U.S., the Biden administration detailed the new international COVID-19 air travel polices, including exemptions for kids, and new federal contact tracing requirements.

Beginning on Nov. 8, foreign, non-immigrant adults traveling to the United States will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with limited exceptions, and all travelers will need to be tested for the virus before boarding an aircraft to the U.S., with tightened restrictions for those who are not fully vaccinated.

The new policy comes as the Biden administration moves away from broader country-based travel restrictions and bans toward what it terms a “vaccinations-based” system focused on the individual risk of the traveler. It almost reflects the White House's embrace of vaccination requirements in an effort to drive more Americans to get vaccinated by piling on inconveniences to those remaining without a shot.

Under the policy, those who are unvaccinated will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within a day of travel, while those who are vaccinated will be allowed to present a test taken within three days of travel.

Children under 18 will not be required to be fully vaccinated, given the inconsistency in the global roll-out of shots for their age cohort, but those aged 2 and over will be subjected to the same COVID-19 testing policy as their parent or guardian.

State booster shot numbers climbing

The Indiana State Department of Health reported another 6,787 Indiana residents were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Monday morning. The total number of Hoosiers now considered fully vaccinated is 3,335,865.

An additional 23,702 Hoosiers have been given booster doses since Friday's count. A total of 284,477 booster doses have now been administered to Indiana residents.

The state also reported 912 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, but there were no additional deaths reported.

Moderna says their low-dose COVID-19 shot works on kids 6 to 11

Moderna said Monday that a low dose of its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and appears to work in 6- to 11-year-olds, as the manufacturer moves toward expanding shots to children.

Competitor Pfizer's kid-sized vaccine doses are closer to widespread use, undergoing evaluation by the Food and Drug Administration for nearly the same age group — starting at age 5. Its vaccine already is authorized for anyone 12 or older.

Moderna hasn't yet gotten the nod to offer its vaccine to teens but is studying lower doses in younger children while it waits. Researchers tested two shots for the 6- to 11-year-olds, given a month apart, that each contained half the dose given to adults.

Preliminary results showed vaccinated kids developed virus-fighting antibodies similar to levels that young adults produce after full-strength shots, Moderna said in a press release. 

The study included 4,753 kids ages 6 to 11, who got either the vaccine or a placebo. Moderna said that like adults, the vaccinated youngsters had temporary side effects including fatigue, headache, fever and injection site pain. 

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 45.44 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 1:30 a.m. Monday according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 735,900 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 243.69 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 6.80 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.

China to start vaccinating children to age 3 as cases spread

Several Chinese provinces and cities say they'll start giving COVID-19 vaccines to children as young as 3 after already fully vaccinating 76% of the population. 

The expansion of its vaccination campaign comes as parts of China take new clampdown measures to try to stamp out small outbreaks. China maintains a zero-tolerance policy toward the pandemic, using lockdowns, quarantines and compulsory testing to eliminate the virus. 

Gansu, a northwestern province heavily dependent on tourism, closed all tourist sites Monday after finding new COVID-19 cases. The spread of the delta variant by travelers is of particular concern ahead of the Beijing Olympics in February.

Indiana humanities groups getting $830K in pandemic relief

Nearly 80 humanities groups around Indiana are getting a boost with a share of more than $800,000 in federal pandemic relief funding. The grants provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities will provide humanities-focused nonprofit groups in 45 Indiana communities with about $833,000. 

Seventy-eight Indiana nonprofits have been awarded the funding, which comes from pandemic stimulus funding approved earlier this year by Congress. 

The grants will support programs and activities focused on subjects that include history, literature, archaeology, ethics and comparative religion. Indiana Humanities had invited nonprofits to apply for the grants.

African effort to replicate mRNA vaccine targets disparities

A team of young scientists in South Africa is assembling the equipment needed to reverse engineer Moderna's coronavirus vaccine. The scientists are effectively making an end-run around an industry that has vastly prioritized rich countries over poor in vaccine sales and manufacturing. 

The research team in Cape Town is working with highly unorthodox backing from the World Health Organization. WHO is leading attempts to replicate proprietary technology in a zero-hour attempt to address global inequities in vaccine access. 

Moderna says it's more efficient to expand its own production than share its technology and has pledged to build a vaccine factory somewhere in Africa at some point.

Vaccine mandates create conflict with defiant workers

Some American workers are deciding to quit their jobs in defiance of what they consider intrusive vaccine mandates. 

Many cities, states and businesses report that more than 9 out of 10 of their workers are complying with mandates. But thousands have sought religious or medical exemptions that were rejected, while others have refused to be told what to do.

They include defense industry workers, police officers, firefighters, educators and health care workers. In Seattle, a group of city firefighters turned in their boots at City Hall this week to protest a vaccination requirement. 

Others didn’t quit; they were fired. Washington State University football coach Nick Rolovich was let go from his $3.2 million-a-year job.