CLEVELAND — In response to a News 5 report that aired Tuesday night in which we asked all seven Cleveland mayoral candidates about their vaccine policies and status, the Kucinich campaign released a letter from his personal doctor today that said Kucinich has an unspecified “underlying chronic health condition which has been controlled for many years” that “requires prudent consideration of any potential therapeutic intervention.”
News 5 interviewed all seven candidates, and as part of those wide-ranging interviews, which hit on topics such as crime and evictions, we also asked the candidates about vaccination policy, which was followed up with a question about whether they’re vaccinated. Our interview with former mayor Dennis Kucinich took place on Aug. 25 and aired on News 5 on Aug. 31.
When we originally asked a question about "mandatory vaccinations," Kucinich responded, "I'm not going to go there."
In a follow-up question asking if he was vaccinated, the candidate said, "I'm not going to go there because I'm not going to use what I have done or haven't done."
When the Kucinich team released the letter from his doctor today, it included a statement from the campaign’s spokesman saying Kucinich is tested regularly. The spokesman also said, "He encourages everyone who is medically eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination to be vaccinated, in accordance with their physician’s medical guidance and advice."
The candidate had not previously disclosed his underlying chronic health condition.
In the letter released today, which is dated Aug. 2, 2021 – 23 days before we asked our questions – Dr. David F. Perse writes:
“The current clinical data regarding vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals necessitates a cautious assessment of my patient’s current medical status as to potential risks, in order to develop and implement a carefully considered plan to best serve his unique health needs and to provide for overall public safety.”
“I therefore have recommended a program of judicious social distancing, face masking, and frequent COVID testing, in accordance with CDC guidelines – in concert with adherence to current health and lifestyle regimens.”
“Congressman Kucinich and I are continuing to assess other evolving treatment options, upon their approval through federal health agencies, including vaccine options available later this year."
UPDATE: The original letter, which you can still see here, was dated Aug. 2, and the letterhead portion had the doctor's incorrect middle initial. The campaign sent out an updated letter, which you can view here. The campaign released the new letter with this statement:
"There was a typographical error in the letterhead of a letter distributed to the news media earlier today from Dr. David F. Perse, personal physician to Dennis Kucinich. A corrected version of that letter, dated today, is attached. The campaign apologizes for any confusion."