Home / Post
COVID-19 vaccines

Colin Powell’s death doesn’t raise new concerns about vaccine effectiveness

A Fox News anchor falsely claimed in a tweet that Colin Powell’s death “raises new concerns about how effective vaccines are long-term.” But that’s not true. Let’s take a look at the facts.

A tweet from John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) that says, “The fact that Colin Powell died from a breakthrough COVID infection raises new concerns about how effective vaccines are long-term.” The News Literacy Project has added a label that says “FALSE.”
Colin Powell’s death from a breakthrough case of COVID-19 does not raise new concerns about the effectiveness of vaccines.
Fox News anchor John Roberts made this claim in an Oct. 18 tweet he later deleted.
Roberts posted a second series of tweets explaining the deletion, but later deleted those as well.
Fully vaccinated people make up “far less than 1% of COVID deaths” but those with underlying medical conditions and those who are immunocompromised have an increased risk of developing severe and fatal breakthrough cases of COVID-19.
Powell was immunocompromised and had multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.


NewsLit takeaway

Roberts’ initial tweet was posted soon after news broke of Powell’s death, which suggests it may have been a knee-jerk reaction rather than a verified claim. In the wake of major news events, it’s best to wait until all details are available before drawing conclusions and to rely on high-quality news coverage that cites experts on the topic. Some news organizations also made missteps in their early coverage of Powell’s death by failing to mention that he was immunocompromised in their initial headlines.

NLP’s viral rumor rundown is a regular feature in The Sift, its weekly email newsletter for educators, and in Get Smart About News, its weekly email newsletter for the general public. You can subscribe to these newsletters here. Send suggestions, questions or feedback on this rumor or on the viral rumor rundown blog to thesift@newslit.org.