As a cancer patient attempting to survive COVID, I am concerned that some media outlets are promoting erroneous messages about vaccinations. Fox News, in particular, is broadcasting that the death of Secretary Colin Powell after being vaccinated indicates that vaccines don’t protect people. Nothing could be more incorrect and harmful.
” Rye Brook, N.Y., October 18, 2021 –The Leukemia & lymphoma Society mourns the passing of Colin Powell. His death is a reminder of the seriousness of the pandemic and the ongoing need to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
While General Powell was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, he had undergone treatment for multiple myeloma, an incurable form of blood cancer. Blood cancer, blood cancer treatments and advancing age can all make people more vulnerable to breakthrough COVID-19 infection, complications and death.
LLS studies have reported that about 1 in 4 blood cancer patients do not generate a full response to the first two-doses of mRNA (Moderna or Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccines. While LLS research has also reported that most blood cancer patients benefit from a booster vaccine, some will still not mount a full antibody response even with this additional dose.
“Colin Powell’s death due to complications of COVID-19 is a real-life example of the elevated risk blood cancer patients face,” said Dr. Gwen Nichols, Chief Medical Officer of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “I urge all blood cancer patients and survivors to get vaccinated—including with a third dose, unless told otherwise by their doctor.”
General Powell’s death is also a stark reminder of the importance of vaccination for the broader population. By getting vaccinated, those with normal immunity can reduce the risk that they transmit COVID-19 to those whose immunity is impaired.”