John King Shared His 'Personal Experience' with MS to 'Help People Understand' Vaccine Importance

CNN news anchor John King is speaking further about his impromptu decision to disclose his multiple sclerosis diagnosis on air

John King
Photo: Joseph Victor Stefanchik/getty

John King is opening up about what inspired him to share personal information regarding his health on live television.

The CNN chief national correspondent, 58, spoke to George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America on Wednesday morning, explaining that he did not plan ahead of time to disclose that he has multiple sclerosis — which he did on Tuesday's edition of his show Inside Politics.

"I'm not supposed to be part of the story, I'm supposed to cover stories," King said. "But I think if I made a mistake it was that if my personal experience can help anybody or help people understand, again, that the person next to you, you may not know, on the subway, or on the bus, in a coffee shop might need your help and you can do a couple easy things to make them feel safer. If I can help with that, then so be it."

"We should be willing to do hard things to help other people," he added. "Rolling up your sleeves and getting a safe vaccine is easy. Putting on a mask in a crowded place is easy. So why can't we do the easy things?"

"These steps are easy and they could help a friend or a neighbor or a stranger get through the day," King said.

Currently, 66.9% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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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.

About his experience with MS, King confirmed he has been battling the disease for 13 years, and that he first experienced symptoms as early as the end of the Clinton administration.

"There are some days this knocks me on my you-know-what. There are other days it's just a little nagging," he shared, noting that he has what is known as relapsing-remitting MS.

When asked by Stephanopoulos about how he felt during the onset of the pandemic as an immunocompromised person, King said, "At the beginning, it was frightening." He also noted that he and Wolf Blitzer were the only two anchors who decided to come into work every day at the time.

King also mentioned how he was concerned about being the "weak link" due to his compromised immune system, and that he didn't want to bring COVID home to his family or his 10-year-old son.

That's why, when vaccines became available, King tried to be as close to "first in line" to receive a shot, and also made sure to get the booster vaccine which recently became available on the "second or third day."

King's conversation on ABC comes after he 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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