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Steve Scalise. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) got his first dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine Sunday, calling it "safe and effective," Nola reports.

Driving the news: Scalise said that his decision to get vaccinated was driven by the spread of the Delta variant, which he noted was "aggressive" as well as a recent spike in case numbers.

  • Scalise had waited to get vaccinated because he had earlier tested positive for anti-bodies and believed he subsequently had a degree of immunity, Nola reports.

Why it matters: A number of public opinion polls have shown Republicans have been among the most vaccine-hesitant group in the country, and some have urged public officials to more publicly encourage constituents to get inoculated.

What they're saying: “It’s safe and effective,” Scalise said of the vaccine, per Nola. “It was heavily tested on thousands of people before the FDA gave its approval. Some people believe that it might have been rushed. That’s not the case."

  • “Especially with the delta variant becoming a lot more aggressive and seeing another spike, it was a good time to do it,” he said.
  • “When you talk to people who run hospitals, in New Orleans or other states, 90% of people in hospital with delta variant have not been vaccinated. That’s another signal the vaccine works.”

Go deeper

Updated Jul 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

6th Texas Democrat in D.C. tests positive for COVID

A sixth member of the Texas Democratic delegation that fled their state for D.C. in an effort to block a state GOP voting bill has tested positive for COVID-19, the Dallas Morning News first reported Monday night.

What they're saying: State Rep. Rafael Anchia told the outlet that all 55 members of the delegation had been observing CDC guidelines, adding: "We're grateful that 100% of us were vaccinated in advance…. This delta variant is no joke."

Heat dome sends temperatures soaring from Oregon to Louisiana

Forecast maximum temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, July 29, 2021. (WeatherBell)

The Pacific Northwest is once again in the midst of a heat wave after already seeing its worst such event on record this summer. Temperatures are soaring into the low 100s in some areas, while dangerous heat is also affecting the South Central states and Gulf Coast.

Why it matters: The occurrence of yet another heat wave during a drought in the West is ratcheting up wildfire risks. The heat itself is a major public health risk, since extreme heat is typically the biggest annual weather-related cause of mortality in the U.S.

Biden calls on Congress to extend eviction moratorium as deadline looms

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

President Biden called on Congress on Thursday to extend the CDC's national eviction moratorium due to the threat of the Delta variant, after the Supreme Court ruled that the administration couldn't extend it past July 31 without specific legislation.

Why it matters: Millions of tenants across the country face the threat of eviction in the coming days. The moratorium was first implemented in September 2020 and extended several times to prevent a wave of evictions caused by pandemic-related economic decline.