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Indiana coronavirus updates for Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021

The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic from Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are 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 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.

RELATED: Here's everything we know about the COVID-19 vaccine

RELATED: Booster shots: Which one to get and who qualifies?

FDA panel approves Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 5-11 Tuesday

U.S. health advisers have endorsed kid-size doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for younger children. 

The vote Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration panel moves the U.S. closer to vaccinating children ages 5 to 11. 

The FDA isn’t bound by the panel’s recommendation and is expected to make its own decision within days. 

If regulators agree, shots could begin as early as late next week. 

Young kids would get a third of the dose given to teens and adults. A study found kid-size vaccinations are nearly 91% effective at preventing infections that cause symptoms. 

Moderna also is studying its vaccine for young children.

ISDH update

The Indiana State Department of Health reported another 1,544 Indiana residents were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Tuesday morning. The total number of Hoosiers now considered fully vaccinated is 3,357,373.

An additional 12,854 Hoosiers have been given booster doses since Monday's count. A total of 293,635 booster doses have now been administered to Indiana residents.

The state also reported 1,471 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, and 57 additional deaths.  

As of Tuesday, there have been 1,012,606 total positive cases in Indiana since March 6, 2020 and 16,022 total deaths.

FDA panel to discuss Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 5-11 Tuesday

An independent expert panel with the Food and Drug Administration will meet virtually Tuesday morning to decide if there’s enough evidence that the shots are safe and will work for younger children like they do for teens and adults.

The virtual meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. ET. 

If regulators agree the shots are safe for children ages 5 to 11, shots could begin within a matter of weeks.  

One big change: Pfizer says its research shows the younger kids should get a third of the dose now given to everyone else. After their second dose, the 5- to 11-year-olds developed virus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teens and young adults get from regular-strength shots.

Pfizer studied the lower dose in 2,268 of the 5- to 11-year-olds, and has said there were no serious side effects. The study isn’t large enough to detect any extremely rare side effects, such as the heart inflammation that sometimes occurs after the second dose of the regular-strength vaccine, mostly in young men.

If the FDA authorizes emergency use of the kid-sized doses, there’s another hurdle before vaccinations in this age group can begin. Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will decide whether to recommend the shots for youngsters, and the CDC will make a final decision.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 45.54 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 3:30 a.m. Tuesday according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 737,300 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 244.07 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 6.83 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 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.

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.

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