INDIANAPOLIS — Vice President Mike Pence's appointment to lead the coronavirus response is sparking some criticism. And it all stems back to his response to a health crisis while he was governor of Indiana.
In January 2015, an HIV outbreak tied to drug use overwhelmed several Indiana counties, beginning in Scott County in southern Indiana.
Pence was asked to get behind legislation to create an emergency needle exchange program to help the outbreak. But he refused to do so until March of 2015 when he signed an executive order for a 30-day program limited to Scott County.
That program was eventually extended when Dr. Jerome Adams, then the state's health commissioner, declared a public health emergency.
Pence later changed his mind about needle exchange programs and signed a law allowing each Indiana county to create one if they had an emergency.