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Former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, after the inauguration of President Joe Biden in January 2021. Photo: Melina Mara/Pool/Getty Images

Former Vice President Mike Pence's office on Thursday said he underwent surgery at a hospital in Falls Church, Virginia, Wednesday to implant a pacemaker after experiencing symptoms associated with a slow heart rate over the past two weeks.

The backdrop: Upon being nominated vice president in 2016, Pence disclosed in his medical records that he was diagnosed with an asymptomatic left bundle branch block, his office said.

What they're saying: "I am grateful for the swift professionalism and care of the outstanding doctors, nurses and staff at Inova Heart and Vascular Institute, including Dr. Brett Atwater and Dr. Behnam Tehrani," Pence said in a statement.

  • "I also appreciate the consultation of my longtime Indiana physicians, Dr. Michael Busk and Dr. Charles Taliercio at Ascension St. Vincent."
  • "My family has been truly blessed by the work of these dedicated healthcare professionals."

Go deeper

Updated Apr 20, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on systemic racism in health care

On Tuesday, April 20 Axios discussed historic health inequities and the injustice in medical research that have impacted trust in the health care system and the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, featuring White House senior advisor for COVID-19 response Andy Slavitt, White House senior policy advisor for COVID-19 equity Dr. Cameron Webb and California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris.

Andy Slavitt and Dr. Cameron Webb discussed the White House COVID-19 response, highlighting rates of vaccinations and the administration's focus on equitable access.

  • Dr. Cameron Webb on how addressing short-term issues around racial equity can have a long-term impact: "There's the long issue of making sure that racial justice is a priority, making sure that we're serving rural communities and a very real and meaningful way...[It's] really critical to keep in mind is the short game in the long game."
  • Andy Slavitt on the impact of universal vaccine access for adults in America, focusing specifically on communities of color: "We are averaging about four million vaccines per day over the weekend [and] each day [during the week] we're doing we're averaging over three million per day."

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris discussed California's approach to addressing health equity, safety precautions, and building trust in public messaging:

  • On addressing systemic inequities and the issue of trust: "We see higher rates of disease and death in our most vulnerable communities, so we are sending higher numbers of vaccines to those vulnerable communities to proportionally target that risk. But sending vaccines to vulnerable communities alone is not going to solve the problem. So we need to address the issues of trust that have developed over decades."

Axios Vice President Yolanda Brignoni hosted a View from the Top segment with YouTube Director & Global Head of Healthcare & Public Health Partnerships Dr. Garth Graham who discussed protecting platforms against health misinformation.

  • "We're working actively to remove misinformation from [YouTube]. It's also important to replace that with the kinds of engaging information around science and public health...You can help reach communities at scale with scientific information in an engaging way."

Thank you YouTube for sponsoring this event.

Updated 2 hours ago - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — the world's largest tree by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. Protection efforts appeared to be working overnight.

2 hours ago - World

Hong Kong holds first "patriots only" elections

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam during a news conference last Monday. Photo: Lui Siu Wai/Xinhua via Getty Images

Hong Kong's elections to choose the city's Election Committee members opened to a select group of voters on Sunday, under a new "patriots only" system imposed by China's government.

Why it matters: All candidates running to be members of the electoral college have been "vetted" by Beijing, per Reuters. They will go on to choose the Asian financial hub's next leader, approved by China's government, and some of its legislature.