Following the news Monday of the death of former Secretary of State Colin Powell – reportedly due to COVID-19 complications – Fox News anchor John Roberts tweeted a few observations about the fact that the deceased was said to have been fully vaccinated against the virus, only to delete the comments amid growing backlash, as The Hill reports.
The outlet noted that Roberts’ post seemed to imply that the death of the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff due to a breakthrough case of coronavirus would necessarily give rise to “new concerns” about the long-term immunity conferred by the vaccinations, which Powell’s family said he had received.
The reaction to Roberts’ tweet was swift and sure, with social media users angrily pointing out that at 84 years of age and prior diagnoses of multiple myeloma and Parkinson’s disease, Powell had an immune system that was already compromised, perhaps beyond the ability of any vaccination to fully protect against COVID-19.
Liberal Politico journalist Sam Stein was among those taking Roberts to task, saying, “Powell was 84. He had cancer. Additionally, the fact that he is perhaps the only real high profile breakthrough death wer know about only underscores how effective the vaccines are. It doesn’t raised [sic] questions about it.”
In response, the Fox News stalwart quickly made efforts to explain the true intention behind his prior post, saying that he made the decision to delete the supposedly offending tweet because some believed it expressed sentiments hostile to the concept of vaccination.
“I deleted my tweet about the tragic death of Colin Powell because many interpreted it as anti-vax. It was not. I was excited to get vaccinated, hoping it would help speed a return to ‘normal life,’” adding:
As we all know, the FDA is now recommending boosters for certain people, and I personally know a number of people who have had breakthrough infections – some of them, quite troubling. Yes, Powell had myeloma, but I was still stunned to hear of his passing from COVID… .
Roberts’ own colleague, Fox News medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier cautioned everyone against using the sad occasion of Powell’s death to make any arguments one way or the other about the COVID-19 vaccine or its potentially waning effectiveness.
“While you can see people all over social media trying to use this anecdotal report of Secretary Powell dying from a COVID breakthrough, why don’t we just stick with what we do know and we’ll leave it with that? We have an 84-year-old man who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, had been previously treated for prostate cancer and was also undergoing treatments for multiple myeloma,” Saphier said.
While Saphier’s point is well-taken that Powell’s unique situation ought not be used to make broader assumptions about vaccine efficacy, as escalating breakthrough cases continue to make headlines, it appears that there is more than ample reason for at least some skepticism about just how much protection the jabs truly offer and for how long.