Colin Powell’s death from complications of COVID-19 — despite being fully vaccinated — is a relatively rare but serious phenomenon that has disproportionally afflicted elderly Americans.
Similar “breakthrough infections” have happened to just 0.008 percent of the 176 million Americans who contracted the virus despite being fully vaccinated — but 70 percent of those hospitalized with breakthrough infections are over 65, according to the AARP.
And those afflicted elderly patients have accounted for 87 percent of all breakthrough infection deaths in the US, the AARP reported.
“Throughout the pandemic older adults have been more likely to suffer from COVID complications than their younger peers, and experts say the same reasons that make them more susceptible from the get-go could be causing them to bear the burden of severe breakthrough cases,” the outlet said.
Powell, 84, was among those more vulnerable to a breakthrough infection because he was also battling other serious ailments, including multiple myeloma blood cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
“The vaccines that we have and he evidently was fully vaccinated for are extraordinarily good against preventing death, hospitalization and severe disease — but they are not perfect,” Dr. Greg Poland, a Mayo Clinic infections disease expert, told Fox News.
“That is the very reason that we are engaging now in a national dialogue about booster doses,” Poland added.
Regulators have recommended booster shots of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for adults over 65 and those between 18 and 64 who may be at higher risk.
Studies have shown that patients with weaker immune systems also don’t retain sufficient levels of vaccine-induced antibodies to protect against the virus.
Powell, who grew up in the Bronx, was a retired four-star general who served as national security advisor and secretary of state, the first black man to hold the latter two posts.