While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for April 2

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic you may have missed overnight.

Here’s a look:

Vaccine hesitancy. More than 1.1 million Hoosiers are now fully vaccinated in Indiana, though many people still have concerns about the shots. Doctors empathize with community members who are still hesitant.

“I agree it was very fast,” Dr. Paul Calkins, Associate Chief Medical Executive at IU Health, said of the authorization of the vaccines. “I don’t believe that it was unsafe fast however.”

Calkins said there are still more people who want the vaccine than many IU Health clinics have supply for. Doctors still hopeful to reach herd immunity sometime this summer, which means roughly 75% of Hoosiers will have immunity.

Appointment shopping. As vaccine supplies begin ramping up across the nation, Hoosiers now have even more options when it comes to booking a vaccine appointment.

“Each spot is valuable,” said Dr. Cole Beeler, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at IU Health. “It’s even more valuable now because we just widely expanded the amount of people that can get the vaccine across Indiana.”

As eligibility and access begins to expand, Dr. Beeler said he noticed more Hoosiers “shopping around” for an appointment.

Grants for venues. In late December, legislators rushed to get a bill out to help fund struggling entertainment venues. More than three months later, those places are just getting a chance to apply for those grants.

“Obviously we wanted it to happen a lot faster,“ said Josh Baker, owner of the Fountain Square concert venue HiFi. “Everyone was waiting, so it put us at a really bad spot at a really bad time.”

They are called shuttered venue operators grants (SVOG). Come April 8, locations will be able to apply for the money. Baker attributes the application delay to numerous factors.

Community corps. Seeking to overcome vaccine hesitancy, the Biden administration is unveiling a coalition of community, religious and celebrity partners to promote COVID-19 shots.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ “We Can Do This” campaign features television and social media ads, but it also relies on a community corps of public health, athletic, faith and other groups to spread the word about the safety and efficacy of the three approved vaccines.

With the help of groups as varied as NASCAR and the NAACP, this is part of President Joe Biden’s multi-billion dollar effort to convince Americans to get the vaccine.

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