LAKE WORTH, Fla. — Colin Powell's death is increasing conversations of the COVID-19 vaccines and underlying health conditions.
Many expressing sorrow over the passing of Gen. Colin Powell, former U.S. secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Powell's family said he passed away from COVID-19 complications.
“COVID-19 in itself will have a lot of serious complications in select populations of people," said JFK Medical Center Infectious Diseases Consultant Dr. Ramprasad Gopalan, "including issues with pulmonary issues, blood issues."
“It is reported that he also had something called multiple myeloma," said Gopalan. "That's a plasma cell disorder which based on the phase that he has, can add to complications of the disease."
According to health officials, multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells. The disease causes the overgrowth of plasma cells in the bone marrow that crowd out normal blood-forming cells, leading to low blood counts and weakening of the immune system.
"It's possible that he succumbed to the complications of COVID-19 but multiple myeloma yes it can contribute to your morbidity depending on what phase and how your treatment was," added Gopalan.
Powell was fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, it is not known when Powell received his last dose or whether he received a booster shot.
"As with any vaccine, the chance as you get older there is a .004 percent chance of death even in a vaccinated adult,” said Gopalan. “I don't know when his last dose of vaccine was, so if it is over 6 months, possibly did he get a booster or not-- I don't know that particular health care privacy information.
Gopalan said each situation is unique and the COVID-19 vaccine impacts each person differently.
"Because the vaccine is the same but the bodies are different," he said.