General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff passed away on October 18th, 2021, due to Covid 19. Powell had multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells that suppresses the body’s immune response, as well as Parkinson’s Disease.
Powell was vaccinated early on and received his second shot in February. He was scheduled to get his booster shot, but when he fell ill, he became unable to receive it. Covid-19 vaccines are a highly effective tool in preventing severe disease and death, but no vaccine is 100% effective. More than 7,000 breakthrough cases of Covid-19 that have resulted in death have been reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through October 12. By that time, more than 187 million people in the US were fully vaccinated, approximately one out of every 26,000 fully vaccinated people who have died of Covid-19 or 0.004%. According to the CDC, of those breakthrough cases resulting in death, 85% were among people age 65 and older, and 57% were among men.
Current data shows that immunocompromised people are at greater risk from the virus, even if fully vaccinated against Covid-19. CDC data also show that the risk of dying from Covid-19 is more than 11 times higher for unvaccinated adults than for vaccinated adults throughout August. Among seniors, who are more susceptible to severe Covid-19, that gap is smaller. Among those 80 and older, the risk of dying from Covid-19 in August was about five times higher among unvaccinated people than fully vaccinated people.