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Colin Powell was the first black secretary of state. Photo: US National Archive
Colin Powell was the first Black secretary of state. Photo: U.S. National Archive

Why did Colin Powell die despite being vaccinated against coronavirus?

Colin Powell died on Monday, Oct. 18 from COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated.  

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Colin Powell, the first African-American to serve as U.S. Secretary of State, died on Monday, Oct. 18 at the age of 84 from complications related to coronavirus, despite having been fully vaccinated.

The New York Times explained that Powell suffered from multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells that inhibits the body's immune response, and this with COVID, aggravated his situation. The outlet warned that in this type of patient, acquiring the virus is serious because the immune system is severely compromised.

Why do fully vaccinated people die? 
Full vaccination against COVID-19 is not a guarantee that the person will not become infected with the virus. The doses, from any of the companies offering an FDA-approved vaccine, prevent 70% of people from developing severe disease, hospitalization and even death, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 
 
However, many people, like Powell, who have other afflictions do not overcome the battle if COVID-19 enters their system. Therefore, these people do not die as a result of contracting the virus, but because it is complicated by the presence of other diseases already present in the patient.
 
Despite the risk, it is still important for the population to be fully vaccinated (second or third booster shot, as appropriate for each vaccine), to increase their level of immunization against the virus. 
What about the unvaccinated? 
Unvaccinated adults in the United States face a risk 11-times greater of dying from COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people. They also have a six times greater risk of testing positive for COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in August. 
 
In addition, this CDC study found that the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations among adults under 50 is approximately 15 times higher for the unvaccinated than for the fully vaccinated.
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