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Kamala Harris slams attempts to politicise Colin Powell’s death and vaccination status

Vice President Kamala Harris has said attempts to link former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s death to the alleged inefficacies of Covid-19 vaccines are inappropriate because the retired four-star general was immunocompromised from other medical conditions.

While speaking to reporters aboard Air Force Two on Monday en route to an event in Nevada, Ms Harris was asked whether she had “a message” for Americans whose scepticism about the Covid-19 vaccines may be fuelled by the fact that Mr Powell had been fully vaccinated but nonetheless died from Covid-19 complications.

Ms Harris replied that what happened to Mr Powell, whose immune system had been weakened by a long battle with blood cancer, “is exactly what the doctors have told us can happen in terms of people who are immunocompromised, people who have pre-existing conditions”.

“I think that today is the day to really reflect on the life of the man and his extraordinary service,” she said. “And not to politicise the efficacy of vaccines”.

Since Ms Harris and Joe Biden were sworn in as vice president and president in January, prominent conservatives have made concerted efforts to administration of the vaccines – which were developed during former President Donald Trump’s time in office – to support for Mr Biden’s presidency.

To a large extent, that push has been successful. According to data released by the Kaiser Family Foundation last month, counties that went for Mr Biden in last November’s election have vaccination rates that are 12.9 percent higher than counties that went for Mr Trump.

Additionally, elected Republicans such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbot have pushed back on Mr Biden’s administration’s attempt to require large employers to ensure that their employees are vaccinated or tested for Covid-19.