Obese Patients Have Weaker Immune Response to COVID Vaccine

6 May, 2022 22:43 IST|L Manisha

Obesity is a known risk factor of Covid-19 infection. According to a new study, severely obese people may have a significantly weaker immune response to Covid vaccination than those who are normal weight. 

Obesity is a disease that complicates the course of Covid-19, and the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine antibody response in adults with obesity may be compromised. Vaccines against influenza, hepatitis B, and rabies have also shown reduced responses in obese people, as per researchers from Istanbul University in Turkey. 

However, research presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in the Netherlands found that people with severe obesity (BMI greater than 40kg/m2) who were vaccinated with Pfizer's mRNA vaccine produced significantly more antibodies than those who were vaccinated with China's CoronaVac (inactivated SARS-CoV-2) vaccine. According to researchers, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine may be a better option for this vulnerable population.

Surprisingly, in patients with severe obesity, both with and without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, antibody levels in those vaccinated with Pfizer/BioNTech were significantly higher than in those vaccinated with CoronaVac. 

"These findings add to our understanding of the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in people with severe obesity and highlight the importance of prioritising and increasing vaccine uptake in this vulnerable group," said varsity Professor Volkan Demirhan Yumuk. 

"Our study confirms that prior infection-induced immune memory alters how people respond to vaccination and suggests that two doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine may generate significantly more antibodies than CoronaVac in people with severe obesity, regardless of infection history," Yumuk added.

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