611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

member support line
M-F 5pm-8pm
24/7 weekends/holidays

AzCH Nurse Assist Line


611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

AzCH Nurse Assist Line


powered by centersite dot net
Medical Disorders
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
New Hormonal Pill May Boost Outcomes for Older Breast Cancer PatientsHad COVID? Getting Vaccinated Strengthens Your Antibodies to New VariantsU.S. to Pump $400 Million Into Vaccination Programs for Other CountriesPandemic Sent Americans' Blood Pressure Numbers SkywardWere Cancer Patients Neglected in U.S. COVID Vaccine Rollout?Young People Recover Quickly From Rare Heart Side Effect of COVID VaccineMore Evidence That Pandemic Delayed Cancer DiagnosesHigh Heart Rate Linked to Dementia RiskCOVID Vaccine, Testing Demand Overwhelming PharmaciesOmicron Spreading Through Africa Twice as Fast as Delta DidWith Holidays Ahead, COVID Boosters a Must for People With Weak Immune SystemsKeep Your Holidays Allergy-Free This YearDo Immune-Based Cancer Drugs Work Better in Men?Gene Found in Amish Helps Protect Their HeartsOmicron May Overcome Prior COVID InfectionWindy Days Are Safer Days When It Comes to COVID-19Most Vaccinated Adults Plan to Get Boosters: PollStudy Finds Delta Somewhat Resistant to Vaccines — What About Omicron?Is the Mumps Vaccine Becoming Less Effective?Vaping Can Trigger Gene Changes in Cells: StudyPfizer or Moderna? Head-to-Head Study Shows One Shot Has an EdgeSurvivors of Severe COVID Face Doubled Risk for Death a Year LaterKids With Uncontrolled Asthma at Higher Odds for Severe COVID-19Nearly 7% of U.S. Kids Have Had a Head Injury or ConcussionFirst U.S. Omicron Case Reported in California'Ultra-Processed' Foods Up Odds for a Second Heart Attack or StrokeCDC to Toughen COVID Testing for International TravelersAHA News: Irregular Heartbeat Risk Linked to Frequent Alcohol Use in People Under 40Certain Blood Thinners Can Raise Risk of 'Delayed' Bleeding After Head InjuryFDA Panel Gives Support to Merck's COVID Antiviral PillLong-Haul COVID Can Include Chronic Fatigue: StudyVaccines, Boosters Should Protect Against Severe COVID, Even With Omicron: FauciPfizer to Seek FDA Approval of Boosters for Teens Ages 16-17Regeneron Says Its Antibody Cocktail Likely Weakened by Omicron VariantCOVID May Trigger Heart Condition in Young AthletesMany People With High Blood Pressure May Take a Drug That Worsens It: StudyBiden Pushes Vaccines, Masks as Best Defense Against Omicron VariantHow Easily Can Singing Spread COVID-19?New Insights Into What Might Drive Parkinson's DiseaseHot Days Can Send Even Younger Folks to the ERRed Light in Morning May Protect Fading Eyesight: StudyMerck's COVID Pill Appears Effective, But May Pose Pregnancy Risks: FDAVaccine Makers Already Testing Their Shots Against Omicron VariantWhat Experts Know About the Omicron 'Variant of Concern'Gout Drug Colchicine Won't Help Fight COVID-19What You Need to Know About Stomach CancerFetal Infection With COVID-19 Possible, But UnlikelyCOVID Protection Wanes After 2 Doses of Pfizer Vaccine: StudyRural Hospitals' ERs Just as Effective as Urban Ones: Study1 in 5 Avoided Health Care During Pandemic, Study Finds
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Men's Health
Women's Health

Powell's COVID Death Despite Vaccination Shows Danger to Those With Weakened Immune Systems

HealthDay News
by Robin Foster
Updated: Oct 18th 2021

new article illustration

MONDAY, Oct. 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Colin Powell, the first Black person to become Secretary of State and a military leader who helped shape U.S. foreign policy for decades, died Monday of complications from COVID-19. He was 84.

"General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from COVID-19," the Powell family wrote in a Facebook post. "We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American," they said, noting he was fully vaccinated.

Powell becomes one of the most high-profile American public figures to die after having a "breakthrough" coronavirus infection, although there were factors that raised his risk of severe COVID-19 infection greatly, experts noted.

"While Powell was fully vaccinated, he also had multiple myeloma, a cancer that suppresses the body's immune response," explained Dr. Gwen Nichols, chief medical officer at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. "Multiple myeloma is not curable, so while he may or may not have been on active treatment, his disease, and his age, made him more vulnerable to breakthrough infection, complications and death," she added.

"Whoever transmitted the virus to him may have been asymptomatic, but they gave him a disease he could not fight as well, despite vaccination," Nichols said. "This death does not demonstrate the futility of vaccines, but instead underscores the importance of everyone getting vaccinated to protect society's most vulnerable."

One infectious diseases expert agreed that Powell's death does not mean that coronavirus vaccines aren't working.

"The anti-vaccine movement is probably already trying to use this death to undermine confidence in the vaccine[s]," said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar with Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, in Baltimore. "It's important to remember that Colin Powell was 84 years old and he had some other medical conditions. This is why we are recommending boosters in this age group."

"We know this isn't the first person who's been fully vaccinated who's died. The fact that he's a celebrity and an icon is garnering all this news, but we know the vaccine, irrespective of these individual cases, is something that decreases the risk of death or severe disease from COVID-19," Adalja said.

"Even though it may not be 100%, it is very high. These exceptions do not change the confidence that any of us in the field have in the vaccine," he stressed. "We expect there's going to be some small proportion of fully vaccinated individuals that die. Largely, they are going to be elderly or with other medical conditions. This doesn't change the actual facts about the vaccine."

Following news of his death, accolades began pouring in for Powell.

"He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam," former President George W. Bush said in a statement on Monday. "He was such a favorite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend."

Powell became the first Black national security adviser during the end of Ronald Reagan's presidency and the youngest and first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush, CNN reported. His national popularity soared in the aftermath of the U.S.-led coalition victory during the Gulf War, and he was at one point considered a leading contender to become the first Black President of the United States. But his reputation suffered when, as George W. Bush's first Secretary of State, he pushed faulty intelligence before the United Nations to advocate for the Iraq War, CNN said.

During Powell's time in the military, which lasted until 1993, he also received a number of other notable awards, including the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. He received his fourth star in 1989, becoming only the second Black American to rise to that rank.

In addition to the military awards, Powell also received the President's Citizens Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal, as well as a second Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded with distinction, from former President Bill Clinton.

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on COVID vaccines.

SOURCES: CNN; Gwen Nichols, MD, chief medical officer, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; Amesh Adalja, MD, senior scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Baltimore; President George W. Bush, statement, Oct. 18, 2021