Obesity may render COVID-19 vaccine ineffective, claim researchers | Photo Credits: Canva&
New Delhi: When the COVID-19 pandemic began, very little was known about the virus. The elderly and people with comorbidities were placed in the high-risk category for contraction and complications due to the virus. However, as more information about the virus came in, children below the age of 10, obese people, and pregnant women, among others were also added to the list.
The coronavirus has been around for a long time now, almost 7 months. Everyone around the world has been waiting for a day when a safe and effective vaccine against the virus is available, and we can go back to our normal lives as we knew it. However, while researchers inch closer to that day, some researchers claim that certain health conditions, such as obesity, may render the COVID-19 vaccines ineffective.
American researchers warn potential medication is less likely to be efficient in obese people
The researchers say that this inefficacy is likely to make obese people even more vulnerable to the disease. Obese people are already at a high risk of contracting COVID-19. Researchers explained that obesity can push the body’s immune response and lead to severe inflammation. This can make the body less equipped to fight the virus.
“It is not a question of not working, it is more of a question of efficacy,’ said Dr Chad Petit, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, DailyMail reported. “In other words, the vaccine could work but it may not be as effective.”
Another researcher of the study said that the size of the vaccine needles also matters for obese people since the standard one-inch needle could prove less effective for them.
“Physicians have to be very mindful what needle-length to use so that, if you’re giving an intramuscular injection, it can actually reach the muscle,” said Dr Schaffner, who is a professor at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
Previous evidence supports findings
In 1985, scientists had found that obesity could weaken a vaccine’s efficacy. Researchers had found that the immunity from hepatitis B reduced quickly among obese healthcare workers, in just 11 months after taking the vaccination. Similar observations were made in obese people who had got vaccines for hepatitis A, influenza, rabies, and tetanus.
Obese people at high risk of COVID-19
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention had warned people who fall in the obese category of BMI – 40 or more, that they were at risk of falling severely-ill due to COVID-19. Later, the BMI for high-risk was reduced to 30. Various studies conducted across the world have also found that obese people may be at high risk of complications, or even death due to COVID-19.
As the race towards finding an effective and safe vaccine against the novel coronavirus intensifies, the good news is that 6 vaccine candidates are currently under phase 3 trials. Meanwhile, Russia has announced that they will register the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine on August 12.