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Indiana coronavirus updates for Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021

The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic from Wednesday, Oct. 27, 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.

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

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

ISDH update

The Indiana State Department of Health reported another 2,864 Indiana residents were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Wednesday morning. The total number of Hoosiers now considered fully vaccinated is 3,359,980.

An additional 17,107 Hoosiers have been given booster doses since Tuesday's count. A total of 310,651 booster doses have now been administered to Indiana residents.

The state reported Wednesday that 60 more people died from COVID-19 in Indiana. The death toll in Indiana now stands at 16,082.

There were also 2,066 new cases of coronavirus reported.

Report: At least 59,000 meat workers caught COVID, 269 died

At least 59,000 meatpacking workers became ill with COVID-19 and 269 workers died when the virus tore through the industry last year, which is significantly more than previously thought, according to a new U.S. House report released Wednesday.

With workers standing shoulder-to-shoulder along production lines, the meatpacking industry was one of the early epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, which used internal documents from five of the biggest meatpacking companies for its report, said companies could have done more to protect their workers.

The new estimate of infections in the industry is nearly three times higher than the 22,400 that the United Food and Commercial Workers Union has said were infected. And the true number of infections could be even higher because the company documents generally don't account for coronavirus cases confirmed by outside testing or self-reported by employees.

Health Department extending clinic at IMS

The Indiana Department of Health will extend the COVID-19 vaccination and testing clinic outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway through Nov. 20.

The extension is to allow for booster shots for those eligible and in anticipation of vaccinating children ages 5 to 11.

The clinics are being held in the INDYCAR parking lot at 4551 W. 16th St., Indianapolis, across from Gate 2.

Vaccinations and testing are being offered from noon to 8 p.m. today through Friday and from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Beginning Nov. 2, the clinics will operate from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through Nov. 20.

Merck agrees to let other drug makers make its COVID-19 pill

Pharmaceutical company Merck agreed to allow other drug makers to produce its COVID-19 pill, in a move aimed at helping millions of people in poorer countries get access to the potentially life-saving drug, a United Nations-backed public health organization said on Wednesday.

The Medicines Patent Pool said in a statement that it had signed a voluntary licensing agreement for molnupiravir with Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

The agreement will allow the Medicines Patent Pool to grant further licenses to qualified companies who are approved to make the drug. Neither drug maker will receive royalties under the agreement for as long as the World Health Organization deems COVID-19 to be global emergency. Molnupiravir is the first pill that has been shown to treat the disease.  

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 45.60 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 738,800 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 244.51 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 6.85 billion vaccine doses 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.

New COVID-19 infections in US down more than half since early September

The number of new weekly cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. has dropped by more than half since the start of September, according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University.

For the week ending Sept. 5, the number of new cases was 1.148 million. After two additional weeks at more than 1 million new cases, the number has steadily declined. It was down to 509,903 for the week ending Sunday.

Johns Hopkins said 11,142 people died due to COVID-19 for the week ending Sept. 5. That number climbed to 14,491 three weeks later. For the week ending Sunday, it was back down to 11,213 — higher than the Sept. 5 number.

The rate of deaths has generally lagged behind the rate of infections by several days or even weeks throughout the pandemic, sometimes due to lags in reporting and verification. That means its likely the death rate will fall if that previous trend holds.

FDA panel approves Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 5-11

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.