CNN's John King Reveals He Has Multiple Sclerosis During On-Air COVID Vaccine Conversation

·2 min read

John King has shared details about his health in a candid moment while on the air.

The CNN anchor, 58, revealed Tuesday that he has multiple sclerosis, while appearing on his show Inside Politics.

"I'm going to share a secret I have never spoken before. I am immunocompromised, I have multiple sclerosis," King said during a discussion about COVID-19 vaccines and mandates with a panel of guests.

"So I am grateful you are all vaccinated," he continued. "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. I worry about bringing it home to my 10-year-old son who can't get a vaccine. I don't like the government telling me what to do. I don't like my boss telling me what to do. In this case, it's important."

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The panel, which included Margaret Taley, managing editor at Axios, Heather Caygle, congressional reporter for Politico, and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, White House correspondent for The New York Times, joined King for a conversation centered around the recent death of former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Powell died on Monday morning following complications from COVID, his family announced in a statement.

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While Powell had been vaccinated, he had a form of blood cancer called multiple mylenoma, which was an underlying condition that rendered his immune system more vulnerable.

It was Taley's mention of Powell's "weakened immune system" and "other people's non-vaccination that threatened and imperiled him" which prompted King to share his story.

King also said during the segment that "what makes America exceptional is when we all set down our personal preferences for the good of the team. The good of the team here is to come together and not spread that."

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King later told Boston Public Radio that his decision to disclose his MS diagnosis "was not planned. It is a secret I have kept for a long time except for a very few people very close to me in my life."

The news anchor also said he felt "very lucky" that the disease is progressing slowly.

"MS sucks, forgive my language," he added. "Every day you are dealing with it in some ways. But there are people who are dealing with it in more profound ways than I am."

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Breakthrough cases — COVID-19 infections that occur in people who have been fully vaccinated against the virus — are unlikely, but possible and expected, as the vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing infections. Still, vaccinated people who test positive will likely be asymptomatic or experience a far milder illness than if they were not vaccinated. The majority of deaths from COVID-19 — around 98 to 99% — are in unvaccinated people.

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