ROME, ITALY – According to a new study released by Italian researchers, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine may be less effective on people who are obese for a number of reasons. The study indicates that overweight people generally tend to produce fewer antibodies – sometimes by as much as half – when compared to thinner people. In addition, excess fat on a human body can result in a state of long-term inflammation, the study notes, which could have a negative effect upon the immune system and its ability to fight off infections.
Studies have already shown that individuals with a BMI of over 30 – which is considered obese – have a greater chance of not only catching COVID-19 and developing a more severe case of it, but also a greater chance of potentially dying from it as well.
Due to this, medical professionals have been encouraging the public to try and lose some weight during the pandemic, a time when much of the general public has been struggling with keeping the pounds off due to business lockdowns that have kept some gyms closed and binge-eating to deal with depression.
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The study in question was conducted by Dr. Aldo Venuti, of the Istituti Fisioterapici Ospitalieri in Rome; members of Dr. Venuti’s team examined 248 healthcare workers – 26 of whom were considered obese – who had just received the two-dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
After seven days – when 99.5 of those who received the shots had developed antibodies that proved effective against COVID – those who were in average-to-good shape had an average antibody concentration of 325.8 verses those who were in the obese range had an average antibody concentration of just 167.1.
“The constant state of low-grade inflammation, present in overweight people, can weaken some immune responses, including those launched by T cells, which can directly kill infected cells,” said the report.
However, Dr. Venuti’s team noted that more research is required for a definitive answer on obesity and how it interacts with the COVID vaccine, and if the vaccine would be less effective or not even with the lower antibody concentration seen in their admittedly small-scale test.