As cases of the novel coronavirus continue to spread across the country, the importance of being vaccinated has been stressed by various influential individuals. Health officials and others have not only emphasized the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine to avoid the spread of the virus but to protect those immunocompromised. In a shocking and brave reveal Tuesday, CNN anchor and Chief National Correspondent John King further emphasized the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine when he told viewers that he has multiple sclerosis and is immunocompromised.
“I’m going to share a secret I’ve never shared before,” King said. “I have multiple sclerosis. So I’m grateful you’re all vaccinated.” King shared his big “secret” during a discussion on General Colin Powell, who died of coronavirus complications on Oct.18. Powell was more susceptible to the virus because he had multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells that suppresses the body’s immune response. During the discussion on CNN’s Inside Politics, King noted that people should not only get vaccinated to protect themselves but to help protect those who are immunocompromised.
He shared that while he doesn’t “like the government telling me what to do, I don’t like my boss telling me what to do,” this issue was important and he was thankful CNN mandated its employees to be vaccinated.
“I am grateful my employer says all of these amazing people who work on the floor, who came in here in the last 18 months when we are doing this, are vaccinated now that we have vaccines.” He added that outside of being infected himself, he was concerned about bringing it “home to my 10-year-old son, who can’t get a vaccine.”
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, multiple sclerosis causes the immune system to attack the central nervous system, resulting in the degeneration of myelin, a protective coating on nerves. This leads to the destruction of the nervous system’s insulation which could cause many symptoms, including degeneration of vision, motor function, speech, and the sense of touch.
About 1 million Americans are estimated to be living with a chronic disease that has no cure at this time.
King’s revelation follows statements by right-wing media members including Fox News’ Tucker Carlson who used Powell’s death to falsely claim COVID-19 vaccines are not effective.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalization and death and unvaccinated individuals are approximately 11 times more likely to die from the coronavirus. Nationwide more than 90% of COVID-19 related deaths are among unvaccinated people. Unvaccinated individuals also make up a majority of COVID-19 related hospitalizations.
King not only recognized Powell’s death but also noted the number of people who have died across the U.S. from COVID-19. “Those are all treasures, that’s somebody’s mother, brother, father, sister, co-worker, colleague, friend, teammate,” King said. “Focus on the science. Man up or shut up.”
In an interview with Boston Public Radio’s GBH News, he added that his decision to share his diagnosis was unplanned.
“It was not planned. It is a secret I have kept for a long time except for a very few people,” he told the hosts. “When you have this misinformation about vaccines in a way that threatens people—727,000 have died of COVID, they’re all American treasures just like Colin Powell was—if we could do anything to protect them we should do it. Even if we have to set aside a personal preference or principle. This is big enough.”
Watch King’s brave reveal below:
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