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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

Oct 14, 2021 - Health

FDA panel unanimously endorses Moderna boosters for certain populations

A pharmacist prepares to give a COVID-19 booster vaccination. Photo: Karwai Tang/Getty Images

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel on Thursday endorsed boosters for Moderna recipients who are at high risk of severe COVID-19, occupational exposure to COVID-19 or are 65 years and older.

Why it matters: The unanimous decision mirrors the FDA conditions for those who qualify for a Pfizer booster.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Mapping repression in China's Xinjiang region

Data: © Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap; Map: Will Chase/Axios

A sweeping new report released today by an Australian research organization reveals new details about how the Chinese Communist Party — and specifically who within the party — is carrying out its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: Uncovering the actual offices and individuals implementing the Chinese government's genocide and forced labor policies in Xinjiang can bring accountability and help international companies delink supply chains in compliance with U.S. and EU forced labor laws.

Report: U.S. Latinos near 50% homeownership rate

Real estate broker Alex Betances sits in front of a home in Reading, Pa. Photo: Ryan McFadden/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Image

Latinos increased their homeownership rate to nearly 50% in 2020, according to a report from a group monitoring U.S. Hispanic wealth creation.

Why it matters: The Hispanic Wealth Project found that the homeownership rate grew despite the lack of diversified financial assets among Latinos and around 15% who still live below the federal poverty line ($26,500 for a family of four).