While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for May 4


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

Here’s a look:

Pfizer for teens. Teenagers as young as 12 could soon get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shot.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for young adults age 12 and older by next week, a federal official and a person familiar with the process told the Associated Press, setting up shots for many before the beginning of the next school year.

Currently, those 16+ are approved for the shot.

FEMA reimbursement seminar. Funeral reimbursement for families who lost loved ones to COVID-19 has been available since April, but not everyone may know how to access it.

People must apply through FEMA to obtain the funds for burial and funeral costs. A local law office is offering help for those trying to navigate the process.

Applegate and Dillman law firm is hosting a free informational seminar Tuesday to answer questions and help walk people through this application. It’s an open house format open to anyone who wants to attend.

Herd immunity uncertainty. Local health experts urge people to focus on protecting themselves and their communities by getting the COVID vaccine instead of trying to reach herd immunity.

The doctor said there are still many unknowns about what level of immunity we must reach to achieve herd immunity.

However, Dr. Shaun Grannis, the vice president for data and analytics at Regenstrief, said what is known is the success of the vaccines in preventing COVID-19 illness.

“The vast majority, in fact almost all cases of COVID in the state of Indiana, are for people who are not vaccinated,” Grannis said.

Grannis said the state is reporting .04% of people got COVID-19 after receiving their vaccine.

Oktoberfest canceled (again). Bavarian officials on Monday canceled Oktoberfest festivities for a second year in a row due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, saying there are too many risks in hosting the celebrations — which bring in visitors from around the world — during a global pandemic. 

Bavarian Governor Markus Soeder said it was with “heavy hearts” that they decided to call off the festival for which the state is known globally, but that with coronavirus numbers still stubbornly high and German hospitals already struggling, it had to be done.

“Oktoberfest will be held again, and will be big again,” he pledged.

Germany is in the middle of a coronavirus lockdown that includes a ban on large gatherings, with an infection rate of 146.9 new weekly infections per 100,000 residents. 

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