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The White House said Monday the death of former Secretary of State Colin Powell as a result of COVID-19 complications is a “heartbreaking tragedy for the country and one the president is feeling personally.”
Watch Psaki’s remarks in the player above.
But press secretary Jen Psaki sought to tamp down concerns about vaccinated individuals dying from COVID-related causes.
Psaki insisted while “there are extremely rare cases of deaths or… hospitalizations among fully vaccinated individuals,” she underscored that “an unvaccinated person has a more than 10 times greater risk of dying from COVID 19 compared to a fully vaccinated person.”
Despite getting vaccinated against COVID-19, medical professionals say Colin Powell remained vulnerable to the virus because of his advanced age and history of cancer.
The 84-year-old Powell had been treated over the past few years for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that impairs the body’s ability to fight infections – and to respond well to vaccines.
READ MORE: Iraqis still blame Powell for role in Iraq war
Psaki also talked about the White House efforts to rescue 17 members of a U.S.-based missionary group were abducted by a violent gang in Haiti.
American officials including the FBI were working with Haitian authorities to try to secure the release of the 12 adults and five children connected with the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries who disappeared Saturday while on a trip to visit an orphanage.
Psaki said President Joe Biden is being briefed on the situation and “receiving regular updates,” and the FBI is “part of a coordinated U.S. government effort to get the U.S. citizens involved to safety.”
Asked about China’s launch of a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August, Psaki said the administration “is concerned about the military capabilities that the PRC continues to pursue,” and is “consistent” in its approach to Beijing.
“We welcome stiff competition, but we do not, do not want that competition to veer into conflict. And that is certainly what we convey privately, as well,” Psaki said.
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