While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for June 3


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

Here’s a look:

Pfizer vaccine produced locally. A local pharmaceutical company has joined the race to help produce the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Exelead is contracted to produce batches of the shot at least until the end of 2021.

While the company could not give an exact number because of their agreement with Pfizer, they were able to share that they started making the first batch towards the end of May. According to Exelead, about a million doses have already been made.

The agreement has been in the works since 2020 to help boost the vaccine production. To make the most of their manufacturing efforts, Exelead is hiring more people to help — which is bringing more jobs to the area.

“It really just brings light to our local pharmaceutical community, but really just here at Exelead we feel a great sense of accomplishment, I would say, in helping not just the U.S. but potentially the rest of the world,” said Drew Andis, a business development leader at Exelead.

Push for 50% vaccination rate. Marion County and Indianapolis city leaders provided an update Wednesday afternoon on the COVID-19 pandemic response and lingering restrictions related to mask-wearing and social distancing as they approach the unofficial deadline of mandates next Monday, June 7th. 

The ask, fairly simple, get vaccinated – if you haven’t already. 

County leaders are making it easy for Hoosiers to get their shot at several walk-in sites this month, many aimed at the eligible 12–17-year-olds within the area as leaders hope to achieve a rate of 50% fully vaccinated by July 4 to fully reopen the county. 

“I think it’s very possible and I am hopeful,” Vice President for Data & Analytics at the Regenstrief Institute, Shaun Grannis said. “As I ran the numbers. If we want to get to 50%, in Marion County, by July 4th, that leaves about 30 days. That’s approximately 5,000 new people vaccinated every day.”

Biden pushes vaccine incentives. The president is making an appeal to the American public, by offering as many incentives as possible to get the country past the coronavirus.

“A summer of freedom,” President Joe Biden said.

Wednesday, the President announced a National Month of Action, as his administration takes steps to get 70% of U.S adults at least one COVID shot by July 4.

This effort by the administration includes partnerships with companies like Anheuser-Busch.

“Beer is on them on July the 4th. That’s right. Get a shot, have a beer. Free beer for anyone 21 years or over to celebrate the independence from the virus,” the president said.

The president announced other incentives from the NBA and MLB, as well as more of an effort from local shops and pharmacies to increase vaccinations.

China picks up the pace in vaccine effort. In the span of just five days last month, China gave out 100 million shots of its COVID-19 vaccines.

After a slow start, China is now doing what virtually no other country in the world can: harnessing the power and all-encompassing reach of its one-party system and a maturing domestic vaccine industry to administer shots at a staggering pace. The rollout is far from perfect, including uneven distribution, but Chinese public health leaders now say they’re hoping to inoculate 80% of the population of 1.4 billion by the end of the year.

As of Tuesday, China had given out more than 680 million doses — with nearly half of those in May alone. China’s total is roughly a third of the 1.9 billion shots distributed globally, according to Our World in Data, an online research site.

The call to get vaccinated comes from every corner of society. Companies offer shots to their employees, schools urge their students and staffers, and local government workers check on their residents.

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