Fox News anchor John Roberts on Monday clarified that he endorses COVID-19 vaccines after deleting a misleading tweet about the death of former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that questioned vaccine efficacy.
“The fact that Colin Powell died from a breakthrough COVID infection raises new concerns about how effective vaccines are long-term,” Roberts tweeted, following an announcement that the fully vaccinated 84-year-old had died from COVID-19 complications.
Powell had multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that greatly reduces the body’s ability to fight infection.
The rhetoric met swift backlash, including on Fox News, where medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier said on Roberts’ program that it was “very upsetting to see that ― people taking Colin Powell’s death and using it as ‘the vaccine didn’t work.’”
“This was a very specific situation,” she said. “At the age of 84 he was already vulnerable for COVID-19, and then you add a cancer of the blood and he is the most vulnerable when it comes to COVID-19.”
Breakthrough infections are still possible after being fully vaccinated; however, the immunization significantly reduces the likelihood of serious illness and death.
Roberts issued a new thread after deleting his initial tweet, saying that his tweet wasn’t meant to be anti-vaccine. He noted that he was excited to get vaccinated and had taken part in a Fox News public service announcement encouraging vaccinations.
He plans to get a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as possible, he said.
Vaccine boosters are available to Pfizer vaccine recipients who received their second shot at least six months ago and are either age 65 and older or 18 and older and live in long-term care settings, have underlying medical conditions, work in high-risk settings or live in high-risk settings.