Oct. 20, 2021 -- CNN anchor John King told viewers on Tuesday that he has multiple sclerosis and is immunocompromised, and he thanked people for being vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I’m going to share a secret I’ve never spoken before,” he said. “I am immunocompromised. I have multiple sclerosis. So, I’m grateful you’re all vaccinated.”

King made the announcement during his program, Inside Politics, while talking about former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who died from COVID-19 complications on Monday.

Powell, who was vaccinated, was more vulnerable to the coronavirus because he had multiple myeloma, a form of bone marrow cancer that affects blood cells and suppresses the body’s immune response. Powell was scheduled for a booster shot last week but had to postpone it when he became sick.

King noted that people should get vaccinated to protect themselves and others, particularly those who are immunocompromised. People with certain medical conditions still face high risks for severe COVID-19 after vaccination because they’re less likely to build up an immune response, he said. Those with weakened immune systems may also have a hard time fighting off an infection.

King said he’s glad CNN has a vaccine mandate for employees. But he also worries about contracting COVID-19 and potentially infecting his 10-year-old son, who isn’t yet eligible to be vaccinated, he said.

“I don’t like the government telling me what to do. I don’t like my boss telling me what to do,” King said. “In this case, it’s important.”

During the segment, King also discussed how other major media figures, such as Fox News host Tucker Carlson, were using Powell’s death to cast doubt on how well COVID vaccines work. He called Carlson’s behavior “reckless.”

After his on-air disclosure, King told Boston Public Radio that he hadn’t planned to share his multiple sclerosis diagnosis, but he felt compelled to speak up after airing a clip from Carlson’s show.

“When you have this misinformation about vaccines in a way that threatens people -- 727,000 Americans have died of COVID,” King told the radio station.

“They are all American treasures, just like General Powell was,” he continued. “If we can do anything to protect them, we should do it, even if we have to set aside a personal preference or personal principle.”

Also on Tuesday, Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 and was glad to be vaccinated, according to The New York Times. He learned about the test results on Monday after his show, Your World with Neil Cavuto, and wasn’t on the air on Tuesday.

“While I’m somewhat stunned by this news, doctors tell me I’m lucky as well,” he said in a statement released by Fox News.

“Had I not been vaccinated, and with all my medical issues, this would be a far more dire situation,” he said. “It’s not, because I did and I’m surviving this because I did.”

Cavuto has discussed his health issues publicly throughout the years. He was treated for cancer in the 1980s and had open-heart surgery in 2016, the Times reported. He was also diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1997.

People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised make up about 3% of the adult population and are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 because they face higher risks for serious, prolonged illness, according to CDC guidance updated Monday.

The CDC has said that those who are immunocompromised may not be fully protected after initial COVID-19 vaccination and should continue to take precautions. The CDC also recommends that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive a booster shot.

“I hope anyone and everyone gets that message loud and clear,” Cavuto said in his statement. “Get vaccinated, for yourself and everyone around you.”

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

CNN: “CNN’s John King discloses he is immunocompromised.”

WGBH: “Boston Public Radio Full Show: 10/19/21.”

The New York Times: “Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto tests positive for coronavirus.”

CDC: “COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People.”

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.