Analysis |: Nikki Haley (and her opponents) struggle with the vaccine message

Good morning. I’m Darius Tahir, a reporter for KFF Health News who covers health, technology and the state of healthcare. Please send closet organization tips to

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Today’s edition. Virginia Democrats want to amend the state constitution to protect access to abortion. Donald Trump published a note from his doctor on the occasion of President Biden’s birthday, in which it is said that he is in “excellent” health. But first…

Can a politician support vaccination without alienating vaccine skeptics? Nikki Haley tries.

Former Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley presents himself as the voice of reason in the Republican Party. “Let’s find consensus,” he said during the first GOP primary debate on abortion. “Let’s treat this as a respectful issue.”

That’s the conversation… and: strong request against President Biden in a hypothetical matchup — that helped position Hale potentially bypass Governor of Florida. Ron DeSantis as a “plan B” presidential candidate of RPA.

But an examination of his record on vaccination shows how he has also aligned his positions with the views of the Republican base.

Many of the GOP presidential candidates have struggled to refine their messaging on vaccinations. My partner Daniel Chang and I have reported, because their constituents are increasingly skeptical of the shots that most doctors will tell you are vital to public health. Former president Donald TrumpFor example, he tried to simultaneously claim credit for his “Operation Warp Speed” program to speed up the development of coronavirus vaccines and also: bash DeSantis To promote the vaccination of Floridians.

Forty percent Republicans believe parents should be able to refuse mandatory childhood vaccinations — nearly double the rate in 2019, according to KFF’s September survey. Support for vaccination among Democrats has remained relatively stable 84 percent saying they should be compulsory for public school students.

It’s a particularly tricky topic for Haley as she tries to position herself as the savvy GOP candidate. His main message. Covid vaccines are fine but not required.

At the height of the pandemic, Haley praised the Trump administration’s efforts to speed up vaccine development; even advertised Co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gatesdonations for vaccine factories.

But he has since announced his opposition to vaccination mandates, saying a November 2021 interview with Christian Broadcasting Network“Mandates are not what America does.” And he promotes some anti-vaccine topics.

“I got it, did my family get it? Yes,” he said in a CBN interview. “But if you’re asking a woman who wants to get pregnant and she’s worried about it, or you’re asking a parent whose baby might be at risk and they’re worried about it, it’s a personal family decision.”

The idea that the coronavirus vaccine could interfere with fertility is a common fear fueled by anti-vaccine activists. It Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says its website that “there is no evidence that any vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccine, causes fertility problems.”

Early in his political career as a state legislator, Haley co-sponsored a bill mandating HPV vaccination. – a common sexually transmitted virus, some variants of which can cause cervical and other cancers, as well as genital warts.

The benefits of HPV vaccination are hard to argue with. One study in 2020 follow almost 1.7 million Swedish girls and women over the age of 11 found almost 90 percent reduced risk of cervical cancer in those who started vaccination before age 17 compared to those who were not vaccinated. The HPV vaccine may also help protect boys from some cancers.

But Haley and the rest of the South Carolina legislature faced a lobbying blitz from evangelicals who feared the vaccine would encourage children to have sex. Support for the bill crater; Haley retained his name as a co-sponsor, but later voted against the legislation. As governor, Haley vetoed a bill that would have encouraged, rather than mandated, HPV vaccinations.

Haley’s primary position on vaccines is less extreme than that of some of her opponents; biotech entrepreneur Vivek RamaswamyFor example, he said he regretted getting the Covid vaccine.

But his long history with vaccinations seems like a foreboding today. Megan Weissfaculty member University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public HealthHe said about the state’s fight against the HPV vaccine. “In retrospect, that was the start of some vaccine misinformation movement.”

KFF Health News is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism on health issues and is one of the major operating programs. KFF: — an independent source of health policy research, polling and journalism.

Virginia’s Newly Empowered Democrats Conspire on Abortion Rights

Early filing for Virginia’s 2024 General Assembly session opened yesterday, and Democrats are looking to build their new majority proposed a change which would enshrine the “fundamental right to reproductive freedom” in the state constitution.

The proposal comes after Democrats campaigned vigorously for abortion rights on the eve of the November 7 elections, standing up against the republican government. Glenn Youngthe efforts of impose a 15-week ban except for rape, bloodshed, and the life of a pregnant woman.

  • Virginia currently allows abortions up to about 26 weeks of pregnancymaking it the site of abortion procedures in the South where they were is highly restricted as the Supreme Court reversed Roe vs. Wade.

Next steps. Lawmakers will take up the measure when the next legislative session begins in January. Both houses of the General Assembly must pass the resolution twice, with an election to the House of Delegates between each vote, before Virginians get a chance to weigh in.

White House Prescriptions

Trump’s doctor says he is in “excellent” health

Former president Donald Trump posted a post took to social media yesterday to say from his doctor that his health is “excellent” and that he will “continue to lead a healthy lifestyle for years to come.”

Yes, but. Letter from Trump’s personal doctor Bruce Aronwald did not include details to support its claims, including basic information such as the former president’s weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

In the post, Aronwald said he last examined Trump in September, though he did not specify which tests he performed or the results. Instead, Aronwald wrote that the 77-year-old’s “physical exams were within normal limits and his cognitive exams were exceptional.”

Bigger picture. Trump posted on President Biden’s 81st birthday as both men’s physical and mental health became a key issue for voters in the 2024 presidential race.

While Biden has come under relentless scrutiny as he ages, Republican candidates seeking to overturn Trump’s lead in the contest are increasingly caught on his verbal slips raising questions about his mental acuity during the campaign.

Fentanyl ring exposed after overdose death of DC mother, federal officials say

A drug overdose that killed a young mother in Washington two years ago led to authorities extended trunk fentanyl ring and the seizure of more than a quarter million pills, The Post’s Peter Herman writes.

Federal prosecutors announced charges yesterday against 13 people from the DC area and California, adding to the indictment already filed against 13 other defendants. The charges include being a member of a drug conspiracy.

  • The drug originated primarily in Mexico and was smuggled into California. From there, they were flown to the district or sent by mail, according to Matthew M. Graves, D.C.’s U.S. attorney, who said the pills are “dangerously marked” to resemble legally manufactured oxycodone.

Basic context. DC mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) last week declared a public emergency over the opioid crisis, ordering city agencies to more effectively track overdoses and help aid groups reach those in need. D.C.’s opioid overdose deaths so far this year surpass last year’s record; 461.

Hannah Recht of KFF Health News sends us this message.

a recent study from Epic researchA division of the electronic medical records company found that uninsured emergency room visits increased significantly this summer after states began removing people from Medicaid rolls.

Researchers who examined emergency room records from more than 1,200 hospitals found that self-pay rates among patients increased; 6.1 percent in March until 8.5 percent in August, the highest rate seen since the first weeks of the epidemic. The new data supports anecdotal reports that many people who left Medicaid remained uninsured.

  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) is suing Pfizer and its supplier Tris Pharma for allegedly providing children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medications they knew would be ineffective for the state’s Medicaid insurance program; Brendan Pearson reports Reuters:citing the unsealed lawsuit yesterday.
  • Prescription drug advertisements broadcast on radio and television will be required in the future identify the main side effects and contraindications of the treatment “in a clear, obvious and neutral way” the rule is complete through intake of food and drugs yesterday
  • The Federal Health Department’s Office for Civil Rights has came to an agreement with Saint Joseph Medical Center to resolve allegations that a New York-based facility violated federal health privacy rules by sharing protected information about some Covid-19 patients with a reporter.
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved Alabama’s request use federal dollars to provide community-based mobile crisis intervention services.

Behind 94 Shocking Acts of Violence, Years of Blatant Mistakes (By Amy Julia Harris and Ian Ransom | The New York Times)

Respiratory viruses pushed out by Covid appear to fall back into seasonal order (By Helen Branswell | Stats)

Four more free Covid tests are available to order from the government (Kathy Mogg | NBC News)

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