Coronavirus: Indiana Pauses Johnson & Johnson Vaccines, Legislature Overrides Veto
The Indiana Department of Health reported 72 additional confirmed deaths over the last week. That brings the state’s total to 12,815 confirmed deaths. The state also reported more than 9,000 new cases in the last week, the most reported in a single week since mid-February.
Indiana has administered 2,160,842 initial vaccine doses, with 1,567,159 Hoosiers fully vaccinated.
Here are your statewide COVID-19 headlines from last week.
The Indiana Department of Health announced Tuesday it is pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after national guidance to do so. The state is working to supply vaccination sites with other vaccines.
After eight of the 6.8 million people who have received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine developed a rare and severe type of blood clot, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended pausing use of the vaccine.
Symptoms appeared six to 13 days after vaccination. Those symptoms were severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath.
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Indiana surpassed 700,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases Tuesday. After weeks of declining cases, the state is seeing a slow uptick.
Indiana reported its most recent 100,000 new COVID-19 cases over the course of nearly three months, slowing down its pace of new cases significantly.
However, there has been an uptick in new cases. The state averaged more than 5,500 cases per day in December, 3,750 cases per day in January, 1,200 in February and 830 in March. So far in April, the state is averaging more than 1,000 per day.
Despite more than 1.4 million Hoosiers fully vaccinated, the state is seeing an increase in cases and hospitalizations. That’s because the state is in a race against more infectious variants.
More than 20 percent of Hoosiers are fully vaccinated, and when breaking that out into Hoosiers older than 65, that’s more than 70 percent.
Micah Pollak is an associate professor of economics at Indiana University Northwest. He said the state is in a race against what many health officials worry could be a third wave of COVID-19 infections, driven by the variant first detected in the U.K.
All adults 16 and older are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and the rollout is in full swing here in Indiana. But how is it going so far?
All IN finds out how Indiana health departments are handling the demand for vaccines, and gets updates on current contact tracing efforts. And they talk to a medical microbiologist about the COVID-19 variants making headlines around the world.
The latest veto override puts into law a measure that allows the General Assembly to call itself into special session during a public emergency, giving legislators more power to intervene in the governor’s decisions in times of crisis.
One of the biggest debates of the COVID-19 pandemic has been when and how to open school buildings without putting more people at risk of infection, and a recent study finds a smaller than expected relationship between in-person schooling and the spread of COVID-19 in Indiana communities.
The study looked at county COVID-19 cases, population, and then the percentage of kids attending school in-person or remotely in each county.
Gabriel Bosslet is a professor of clinical medicine at Indiana University, and helped coordinate the study. He said the research team wasn't surprised that data shows a correlation exists between community spread of COVID-19 and in-person schooling, but they were surprised at how small it was.
Gov. Eric Holcomb lifted the statewide mask order April 6. But experts say the municipalities and counties that have maintained some kind of mask order are helping keep cases and hospitalizations down.
Peter Federman is an assistant professor at IUPUI’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He said, because of the counties that have extended mask orders, there is still some benefit for the state.
"A big chunk of the population in the state lives in Marion County. And so, if Marion County is all wearing masks – or at least is wearing masks at a much higher rate than the rest of the state – then you’re looking at a big percentage of Hoosiers wearing masks," he said.
Marion, Monroe and St. Joseph counties have all expanded mask orders. But other populous counties – like Allen, Vanderburgh and Vigo counties have not.
Indiana House lawmakers debated a ban on so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports last week.
Rep. Brad Barrett (R-Richmond), a retired physician, offered an amendment to SB 325 that would bar businesses from asking about a person’s vaccination status. It would also stop them from restricting access to a public area of their business without proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.
Barrett stressed that the COVID-19 vaccines are only under emergency use authorization, not complete Food and Drug Administration approval.
A bill that will give health care providers additional protections from COVID-19 liability lawsuits is on its way to the governor’s desk. Some trial lawyers worry the bill will limit Hoosiers from seeking legal action for their loved ones.
It adds protections for nursing homes, hospitals and other medical providers from lawsuits unless gross negligence or willful misconduct can be proven.