Doctors explain why former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s blood cancer and Parkinson’s disease increased his risk of death from COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated

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  • Colin Powell, the first black secretary of state, died of COVID-19 complications on Monday, despite being fully vaccinated, at the age of 84.
  • Doctors say his age, his battle with multiple myeloma — a type of blood cancer — and Parkinson’s disease increased his risk of death.
  • Powell was immunized to treat multiple myeloma, meaning that when he was vaccinated, he was unlikely to have an immune response.
  • Older people are also at risk of serious infections, having a less strong immune system than younger adults.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are still more than 90% effective against serious illness and death and less than 0.01% of people with breakthrough infection have died

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Despite being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Colin Powell’s age and medical history put him at risk of serious illness and death.

Powell, formerly the black secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, died Monday of complications from the virus, his family said in a statement.

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He was 84 years old, severely immunocompromised as he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma – a cancer of the white blood cells in the bone marrow – and Parkinson’s disease.

“The main issue is that they had an unfortunate contagion that gave them a perfect storm for serious exposure despite being fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Peter Chin-hong, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.

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Doctors say that although Powell died of a breakthrough infection, such cases are quite rare.

He explained to DailyMail.com why his conditions put him at risk of death — and that doesn’t mean that COVID-19 vaccines are ineffective.

Colin Powell, the first black Secretary of State, died Monday of COVID-19 complications, despite being fully vaccinated, at the age of 84. Pictured: The then Foreign Minister Powell listens to a question during a news conference in Beijing, China, Oct. 2004

Doctors say his age, his battle with multiple myeloma -- a type of blood cancer -- and Parkinson's increased his risk of death.  Image: Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, holds a news briefing at the Pentagon, January 1991

Doctors say his age, his battle with multiple myeloma — a type of blood cancer — and Parkinson’s increased his risk of death. Image: Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, holds a news briefing at the Pentagon, January 1991

Dr Stuart Ray, Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, told DailyMail.com in an email: ‘Colin Powell’s death reflects the complex layers of managing COVID-19 risk.

‘His death is extraordinary, in general, because he was thoroughly vaccinated.

‘However, their age and comorbidities remind us that vaccination is never 100 percent protective, and people at particular risk (and those around them) are wise to take special precautions that we believe to be effective. ‘

No COVID-19 vaccine prevents every single infection, thus so-called ‘breakthrough’ cases – in which a fully vaccinated person contracts the virus – are bound to occur, but they are rarely hospitalized. result in admission or death.

As of October 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 24,717 of the 187 million people have been fully vaccinated, or 0.013 percent, have been hospitalized.

An even smaller number – 7,178 fully vaccinated people, or 0.003 percent – ​​have died, and 85 percent of them are 65 and older.

This means that it is very rare for fully vaccinated people to contract COVID-19 and die, and those who do are mostly elderly.

“As you get older, your ability to mount an immune response is affected based on their age,” Dr. Abhijit Duggal of the Department of Critical Care at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio told DailyMail.com.

However, people with underlying conditions such as cancer are at higher risk.

A spokeswoman said Powell had successfully treated multiple myeloma in the past.

patients suffering from Hematologic cancers — those related to the bone marrow, and other blood-related tissues like Powell’s — are at particularly high risk.

The immune systems of hematologic cancer patients do not produce antibodies to fight diseases the way they should.

In addition, many of the commonly used treatments for these cancers affect parts of the immune system, such as B cells, which fight bacteria and viruses.

This prevents the immune system from being able to give a full response to a patient being vaccinated.

Powell was immunized to treat multiple myeloma, meaning that when he was vaccinated, he was unlikely to have an immune response.  Studies have shown that cancer patients have a lower immune response to vaccines (left) than healthy patients (right)

Powell was immunized to treat multiple myeloma, meaning that when he was vaccinated, he was unlikely to have an immune response. Studies have shown that cancer patients have a lower immune response to vaccines (left) than healthy patients (right)

Older people like Powell are also at risk of serious infections, having less strong immune systems than older adults.  Pictured: Powell and his wife Alma on their wedding day in August 1962

COVID-19 vaccines are still more than 90% effective against serious illness and death and less than 0.01% of people with breakthrough infection have died.  Pictured: Powell and his wife Alma at the 2019 Ford's Theater Gala in Washington, DC, June 2019

Older people like Powell are also at risk of serious infections, having less strong immune systems than older adults. COVID-19 vaccines are still more than 90% effective against serious illness and death and less than 0.01% of people with breakthrough infection have died. Pictured: Powell and his wife Alma walk in on their wedding day in August 1962, and at the 2019 Ford’s Theater Gala in Washington, DC in June 2019.

“You have to realize that multiple myeloma and other disease conditions dampen the immune system’s response,” Duggal said.

‘When we give them vaccinations, we hope that the immune system will be strengthened to develop antibodies.

‘But the fact remains. Because the immune system is depressed, the ability to generate immunity from vaccination is not as good as that of an intact immune system.

‘The effectiveness of the vaccine is not going to be as good as it is in a person with a strong immune system.’

AC DC report good In August it was found that between 40 and 44 percent of people successfully hospitalized for COVID-19 infections are immune despite only three percent of the US population.

An Israeli study from May found 10 percent of Cancer patients who received two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine The group of healthy patients developed higher levels of antibodies than not all.

and the other July Study Only 45 percent patients were found…

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