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'Secret I've never shared': CNN's John King reveals he has multiple sclerosis

King said he is immunocompromised: "I'm grateful you're all vaccinated," he said.
CNN correspondent John King talks to the audience before moderating a Republican Presidential debate at the Mesa Arts Center on Feb. 22, 2012 in Mesa, Ariz.
CNN correspondent John King at a Republican presidential debate at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 22, 2012.Ethan Miller / Getty Images file

CNN anchor John King said Tuesday that he has multiple sclerosis and is immunocompromised.

King, 58, the network's chief political correspondent, made the disclosure on his show, "Inside Politics," in a moment that appeared to have been unscripted.

"I'm going to share a secret I've never spoken before," King said. "I am immunocompromised. I have multiple sclerosis. So I'm grateful you're all vaccinated."

King praised the network for mandating vaccinations for its employees, saying, "I worry about bringing it home to my 10-year-old son who can't get a vaccine."

He said that while "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."

King and his guests were talking about mandates in a discussion about former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who died Monday of Covid complications. Powell had been vaccinated, but he had cancer that compromised his immune system.

Anna Beth Jager, a CNN spokesperson, declined to comment further.

Multiple sclerosis causes the immune system to attack the central nervous system, resulting in the degeneration of myelin, a protective coating on nerves. Eventually, the destruction of the nervous system's insulation leads to a breakdown in communication that can cause many symptoms, including degeneration of vision, motor function, speech and the sense of touch.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates that 1 million Americans live with the chronic disease, which has treatments that can slow its progression and alleviate symptoms but no known cure.

Immunocompromised people, including those with MS, were among those offered first access to Covid-19 vaccines because their bodies mount weaker responses to vaccines in general and are more susceptible to severe disease and death if they test positive for the coronavirus.

In August, the FDA authorized a third dose of Moderna's and Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccines on an emergency basis for the estimated 2.7 percent of adults who are immunocompromised. Last month, the FDA OK'd a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine for more people, including those 65 and older and those in certain high-risk occupations.

The National Institutes of Health is conducting a large study of immune responses to Covid-19 vaccines in people with immune disorders. Results are not expected until 2025.