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Coronavirus: Indiana starts vaccinating 5 and older, state sues over workplace vaccine rules

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Justin Hicks / IPB News
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Indiana opens vaccine registration for 5- to 11-year-olds. Pediatricians work to dispel COVID-19 vaccine myths. And the state sues the federal government over workplace vaccine rules. 

THE DATA

Indiana reported 11,750 new cases in the last week – nearly 800 more cases compared to last week, ending a six-week decline.

That is less than half the weekly average of cases reported in September, though still a ways off from the pandemic-low cases Indiana reported in June.

IDOH added 202 new deaths to the state’s total in the last week.

THE HEADLINES

Vaccine registration for 5- to 11-year-olds starts in Indiana

Hoosiers 5 and older can be registered for appointments to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The Indiana Department of Health opened registration on Thursday.

Parents or guardians can register their children 5 or older at OurShot.IN.gov. If you’re in need of assistance, you can call 211. 

Hoosiers 17 and younger can only receive the Pfizer vaccine. And 5- to 11-year-olds will receive a pediatric dose that is one-third the size. 

For parents or guardians of children on the cusp of the higher dose, pediatricians recommend just getting vaccinated as quickly as possible. The smaller dose option for younger children still provides a more than 90 percent efficacy

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said in a statement the rollout of vaccines to Hoosiers 5 and older is “a game changer” in keeping “children healthy and in school for in-person learning.”

As Indiana begins to vaccinate Hoosiers 5 and older, pediatricians dispel COVID-19 myths

Now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend COVID-19 vaccinations for kids 5 and older, pediatric doctors are making their case to parents. A Riley Children’s Hospital physician said that means dispelling misinformation.

Dr. Sarah Bosslet, director of primary care at Riley, said that starts with answering questions from parents. For example, parents have asked about long-term side effects from vaccines. She said, with most vaccines, severe side effects are almost immediate or within six weeks.

“So we don’t have any concerns about long-term effects from COVID vaccine, we actually have much more concern about long-term side effects from COVID infection,” Bosslet said.

She said that’s especially important after the toll the delta variant took on kids.

READ MORE: Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for kids? Here's what you need to know

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on COVID-19 and other statewide issues.

Indiana Attorney General suing federal government over COVID-19 vaccination workplace rules

Attorney General Todd Rokita is suing the federal government to halt President Joe Biden’s workplace COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

Rokita, in cooperation with Gov. Eric Holcomb, is filing three lawsuits – targeting policies for federal contractors, health care workers and a broad rule for any company with at least 100 employees.

The Republican AG called the president’s COVID-19 vaccination policies an “egregious … insidious” overreach of federal workplace safety authority.

“This is not a workplace issue. It’s been with us,” Rokita said. “It’s been with us at our homes, it’s been with us on our sports teams, it’s been with us in our kids’ schools. It’s been with us everywhere.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s rule for employers with at least 100 workers gives them a choice: employees get vaccinated or get regularly tested and mask up.

Holcomb contemplates ending public health emergency, even as pandemic continues

Gov. Eric Holcomb said Indiana is at a point where he “thankfully can contemplate” ending the public health emergency around the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Holcomb is not ruling out another extension of that executive action after November.

Declaring a public health emergency ensures Hoosiers are eligible for federal aid. And it triggers the governor’s ability to issue a broad range of executive orders.

With his latest renewal, Holcomb said he’s asked his administration to explore ways to end the executive action.

But he acknowledged that doing so won’t mean the pandemic is over.

“We need to make sure we’re not overlooking anything and to ask the cabinet … really think about what tools do we need to continue to manage our way out of this,” Holcomb said.

IU economists forecast labor and supply chain issues into 2022

Indiana economists forecast that shortages in the supply chain and workforce will continue in 2022. The annual Indiana University Kelley School of Business economic outlook released Thursday shows the financial effects of the pandemic will likely continue — including rising inflation and wages.

Consumer demand is strong, but the bottleneck in the supply chain and the shortage of truck drivers has caused prices to increase exponentially. At the same time, the demand for workers is driving up wages, though economists don’t expect as much wage growth in Indiana compared to the rest of the U.S.

“Historically, Indiana has seen lower growth in income than at the national level, about a 0.4 percent difference,” said Jennifer Rice, an IU economist. “And we expect to continue to see that moving forward into 2022.”

Contact Lauren at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.