While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for June 18

Coronavirus

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

Here’s a look:

Holcomb on vaccination rate/lottery. Following an appearance Thursday at the FFA state convention, Gov. Eric Holcomb took questions from reporters on Indiana’s COVID-19 vaccination rate.

Indiana lags in COVID-19 vaccinations compared to neighboring states. Holcomb said he has spoken with the governors of states that have created vaccine lotteries, including Ohio and Kentucky, but said he is still not considering one for Indiana.

“It seems to me that the closer we can get to different individuals around our respective states, the more effective it is,” Gov. Holcomb said.

Holcomb said he’s focused on getting the vaccine into more Indiana neighborhoods and working with community leaders to encourage vaccination instead of offering monetary incentives.

“It’s a slog, and it’s going to be a grind,” Holcomb said. “I can’t change reality. If there are some people who are just dead set against it, it’s their personal responsibility.”

Mixing/matching vaccines. Can you mix and match two-dose COVID-19 vaccines?

It’s likely safe and effective, but researchers are still gathering data to be sure.

The authorized COVID-19 shots around the world are all designed to stimulate your immune system to produce virus-fighting antibodies, though the way they do so varies, noted Dr. Kate O’Brien, director of the World Health Organization’s vaccine unit.

“Based on the basic principles of how vaccines work, we do think that the mix-and-match regimens are going to work,” she said.

Scientists at Oxford University in the United Kingdom are testing combinations of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines made by AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer-BioNTech. Smaller trials are also ongoing in Spain and Germany.

India still short on vaccines. Starting Monday, every Indian adult can get a COVID-19 vaccine dose for free that was purchased by the federal government.

The policy reversal, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, ends a complex system of buying vaccines that worsened inequities in administering the shots. India is a key supplier of vaccines around the world, and its missteps have left millions of people waiting unprotected. Only about 3.5% of Indians are fully vaccinated and while the policy change is likely to address inequality, questions remain. Moreover poor planning means vaccine shortages will continue.

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