The Pfizer Vaccine May Be Less Effective If You Have This Common Condition

New research found a lower antibody response in this group of people.

The Pfizer vaccine has been heavily praised for its efficacy against the coronavirus—and it may be the only vaccine some people can receive, as it's currently the one vaccine available to 16- and 17-year-olds in the U.S. Moreover, health officials have advised people to get whichever coronavirus vaccine they can. However, there could be some limitations to the shot's protective powers. According to a new study, the Pfizer vaccine may be less effective in people with one common condition. Read on to find out if you fall into this group, and for more vaccine news, The Pfizer CEO Says This Is How Often You'll Need a COVID Vaccine.

The Pfizer vaccine may be less effective if you have obesity.

Female checking kilogrammes getting on the scale - self care and body positivity concept - warm flare on left
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Italian researchers observed the Pfizer vaccine response in nearly 250 healthcare workers, and their findings were pre-printed Feb. 26 on medRxiv. The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found that healthcare workers with a BMI greater than 30 had a lower antibody response after having received the Pfizer vaccine. In fact, these healthcare workers were only able to produce half the amount of antibodies that the healthcare workers with a lower BMI produced seven days after the second dose.

"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," the study stated. And for essential guidance on vaccination, Dr. Fauci Just Said Don't Take This Medication With the COVID Vaccine.

It may also be less effective you are an older male.

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If you are an older male with obesity, your antibody response from the Pfizer vaccine may be even lower—as the study found that age, gender, and obesity all played a role in differing antibody response levels. "These findings imply that females, lean and young people have an increased capacity to mount humoral immune responses compared to males, overweight and the older population," the study stated.

However, it's important to note that despite differences in antibody levels, none of the participants developed COVID by the seventh day after the second dose either—regardless of their gender, age, or weight. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Obesity is a risk factor for severe COVID.

Male and female doctors discussing while standing in ICU. Healthcare workers are protective workwear. They are at hospital.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists obesity and severe obesity as risk factors for severe illness from the coronavirus. According to a the agency, obesity is "linked to impaired immune function," which may triple a person's risk of hospitalization for COVID and increase their likelihood of death from the virus. The CDC also notes that prior research has found that "obesity may be linked to lower vaccine responses" for several other diseases as well, like the flu, hepatitis B, and tetanus. And for vaccine side effects to expect, Doctors Are Warning You to "Be Prepared" for This After Your Second Dose.

Researchers say new vaccine options may need to be considered for people with obesity.

Close-up of a female doctor preparing a COVID-19 vaccine injection for vaccination. Preparation of a coronavirus vaccine dose.
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Aldo Venuti, MD, corresponding study author from the Istituti Fisioterapici Ospitalieri in Rome, wrote in a discussion accompanying the study that "it is mandatory to plan an efficient vaccination program" for those with obesity, since they are at higher risk for severe COVID. This means vaccine plans may need to be altered for those with this underlying condition. "Although further studies are needed, this data may have important implications to the development of vaccination strategies for COVID-19, particularly in obese people. If our data was to be confirmed by larger studies, giving obese people an extra dose of the vaccine or a higher dose could be options to be evaluated in this population," Venuti explained. And for more vaccine reactions to prepare for, If You're Over 65, the CDC Says to Expect This After Your COVID Vaccine.

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Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
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