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Max Nisen

Colin Powell’s Death Argues for Vaccines, Not Against Them

The former military officer and statesman needed as many people around him as possible to be vaccinated to diminish his chances of encountering the virus.

Colin Powell in 2017.
Colin Powell in 2017.Photographer: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage/Getty Images

Vaccine opponents are seizing on the death of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was fully vaccinated yet died of Covid-19 complications, to cast doubt on the vaccination effort against the virus. As usual, these people are dangerously wrong. The death of someone like Powell, who was 84 and fighting multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that significantly hampers the immune system, is a potent argument to vaccinate as broadly as possible.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes it abundantly clear that while fully vaccinated people can contract Covid, it’s far less common. In fact, it was six times less common than in the unvaccinated in August across all age groups .