Indiana prepares for vaccine shipment. As soon as next week, Indiana is expecting more than 55,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine but more is coming.

By the end of next week, 50 Indiana hospitals will distribute the initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. IU Health Methodist in Indianapolis will be one of the first.

“We’re ready to go,” said IU Health Director of Infection Prevention Kristen Kelley. “So, as soon as that vaccine hits the door, we will begin administering it, so it’s exciting news.”

IU Health now has an education campaign for those who will be the first to get the vaccine, including hospital workers and those in long-term care facilities.

“What the vaccine is, how it works, how this MRNA technology works and even really discuss the history of vaccines,” said Kelley.

Indiana is expecting to get more than 55,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the first week.

“I’d like to have a lot more,” said Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. “But, I understand we’re dealing with a set volume, or a set approved production, and that’s going to be shipped out all over the country.”

At-home non-prescription test approved. Performing a COVID-19 test at home will now be possible without a prescription.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized LabCorp’s Pixel COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit on Wednesday.

The kit is available for use by any individual 18 years and older without a prescription.

This is the first COVID-19 direct-to-consumer test available for individuals without the need for a prescription. With the test, people can self-collect a nasal swab sample at home and send it to LabCorp for evaluation.

Potential disparity in vaccine availability. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Wednesday that “vaccine nationalism” is moving “at full speed,” leaving poor people around the globe watching preparations for inoculations against the coronavirus in some rich nations and wondering if and when they will be vaccinated.

The U.N. chief reiterated his call for vaccines to be treated as “a global public good,” available to everyone, everywhere on the planet, especially in Africa. And he appealed for $4.2 billion in the next two months for the World Health Organization’s COVAX program, an ambitious project to buy and deliver coronavirus vaccines for the world’s poorest people.

After a virtual U.N. meeting with the African Union, Guterres said at news conference that financing COVAX is the only way to guarantee vaccines will be available in Africa and other developing areas.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a high-level U.N. General Assembly meeting last week on COVID-19 that “the light at the end of the tunnel is growing steadily brighter” to end the pandemic. But, he added, vaccines “must be shared equally as global public goods, not as private commodities that widen inequalities and become yet another reason some people are left behind.”

FDA meeting Thursday on Pfizer vaccine. Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine faces one final hurdle as it races to become the first shot greenlighted in the U.S.: a panel of experts who will scrutinize the company’s data for any red flags.

Thursday’s meeting of the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory panel is likely the last step before a U.S. decision to begin shipping millions of doses of the shot, which has shown strong protection against the coronavirus.

The FDA panel functions like a science court that will pick apart the data and debate — in public and live-streamed — whether the shot is safe and effective enough to be cleared for emergency use. The non-government experts specialize in vaccine development, infectious diseases and medical statistics. The FDA is expected to follow the committee’s advice, although it is not required to do so.

The FDA’s decision comes as the coronavirus continues surging across much of the world, claiming more than 1.5 million lives, including more than 289,000 in the U.S.

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