INDIANAPOLIS (AP): Indiana’s top medical groups pleaded Tuesday for more people to get COVID-19 vaccine shots as the state is in the midst of a new surge of infections and hospitalizations.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb is set to renew the statewide public health emergency for another month as the current one expires Wednesday and legislative leaders have pushed back until January taking action on a contentious proposal that included steps toward ending that order.
The medical organizations warned that the vast majority of current hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated and that hospitals are stressed by caring for more critically ill patients who face longer stays.
Indiana hospitals had 2,200 COVID-19 patients admitted as of Monday, an 82% increase in such hospitalizations over the past three weeks, according to tracking by the Indiana State Health Department. About one-quarter of those patients were being treated in intensive care units.
The Indiana Hospital Association, Indiana State Medical Association and Indiana State Nurses Association said more vaccinations are needed to relieve pressure on the state’s health care system.
“Should the current trends continue, everyone in need of health care could be impacted,” the groups said in a statement. “We urge all Hoosiers who have not yet received a vaccine or who are eligible to get a booster to do so before winter arrives to ensure a hospital bed is available for all in need.”
Indiana has the nation’s 11th lowest rate for fully vaccinated population at 50.6%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state continues to average about 20 COVID-19 deaths a day, with the Indiana Health Department adding 119 recent deaths on Tuesday that increased Indiana’s pandemic toll to 17,557.
Holcomb outlined administrative steps two weeks ago the Legislature could put into state law after which he would end the public health emergency that he first issued in March 2020. Republican legislative leaders, however, scuttled a planned fast-track approval of the measure following objections from medical and business groups over provisions forcing broad exemptions from workplace vaccination requirements.
House Republicans took the unusual step on Monday of posting early the text of the proposed bill, giving it the House Bill 1001 designation that typically goes to the measure designated as a top priority for passage after the legislative session’s scheduled start on Jan. 4. It is already sponsored by 56 of the 71 Republicans in the 100-member House.
The bill posted online drops language specifying that medical exemptions from any employer’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements included “pregnancy or anticipated pregnancy.” Several doctors testified that wrongly signaled that the vaccines aren’t safe for pregnant women.
A spokeswoman for Republican House Speaker Todd Huston didn’t immediately respond to questions about how quickly the House would try to advance the proposal and why the pregnancy language was dropped.
Huston said last week that lawmakers were “resolved to take quick action this session to help end the state of emergency.”
Several Indiana hospital systems and some major employers, such as Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co., adopted vaccine requirements for their employees even before President Joe Biden announced plans for a federal mandate for large businesses.
Indiana Democrats argue that Republicans were putting lives and the state’s economic recovery at risk by placating vaccine doubters.
“They would rather put their extreme partisanship ahead of creating a better future for Hoosiers,” said Lauren Ganapini, the state Democratic Party’s executive director. “Science and medicine are equipped to fight the pandemic, and we ask all Hoosiers to do their patriotic and civic duty to help put this pandemic behind us by getting vaccinated.”
Science is your GOD now.
Do your patriotic duty you dirty disease-ridded maggots and get VACCINATED or else!!!!!!!
Except, every person I know who’s been vaccinated has gotten COVID anyway! And several have developed serious health problems after getting vaccinated, two of which are in the hospital right now. Of course, I’m told that’s just a conspiracy.
There will be a special place in Hell for those who have pushed this on people. I just hope I am alive to see justice for all those “science” has wronged.
No mention at all of immunity by recovery. With all the “Cases” reported over the last year there must be millions who don;t need this phony shot. Why get the shot when it doesn’t work so many times? What are the long term consequences of putting this unproven substance into your body? What ever happened to “my body, my choice?” We take medications including flu shots and other real vaccines to prevent the disease in our body. We don’t take them for others to feel secure or have less anxiety. Do not be governed by fear from health officials or from a doofus governor who is only trolling for federal dollars. Current omicron reporting says it has less impact on the body with mild symptoms. Why panic over something that may not be as bad as original Covid? How many more variants will be used to control The People? We will need 3-4 to control the next election cycle for the Marxicrats, won’t we? How much more control does Darth Holcomb need to slake his ego?