COVID-19: Obesity throws another wrench in recovery

Earlier this week, I exposed the high price of obesity throughout this pandemic—to one’s health and to society. That’s why, today, I’d like to reveal yet another crucial risk—one that could ultimately prove just as costly.  

A new study is showing that people who are heavier, older, and male may have trouble mounting an immune response to COVID-19 vaccination

In other words, not only are obese people more likely to suffer from more severe cases and complications of COVID-19, but they also may not acquire as much protection against the virus when they get vaccinated.  

Let’s take a closer look… 

Immune responses suffer  

This study only looked at the Pfizer vaccine. But it involved nearly 250 healthcare workers, all of whom received both shots.  

A good 99.5 percent of the subjects developed a humoral immune response following the second dose. But notably, this response varied based on a few key factors: namely, body mass index (BMI), age, and gender. 

Which isn’t really surprising. Most vaccines—even the annual flu vaccine, which you know I’m not a big fan of—requires adjustment for older and overweight people, in the form of extra or stronger doses.  

And with obesity rates being what they are around the world today, vaccine manufacturers need to be looking into this issue yesterday 

This study is the first to look at how responses to the new COVID-19 vaccine correlate with BMI. So obviously, there’s more research yet to be done on this subject. 

But when you think about it, this finding makes perfect sense. Overweight and obese individuals are in a constant state of low-grade inflammation. And that weakens immune responses across the board, interfering with your body’s ability to fight off infections.  

Still a step toward recovery 

Of course, there’s still a bit of good news here. This latest finding seems to run counter to the findings of the Pfizer vaccine’s phase 3 clinical trial, which showed no difference in symptomatic infection rates based on weight. This would suggest that, even with the lower antibody levels, the vaccine still offered significant protection against COVID-19.    

This is definitely something to keep in mind as the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine is rolling out across the U.SMany Americans are turning their nose up at that vaccine because reports are that it may only be 65 to 70 percent effective.  

But do you know what that really means? It means that the vaccine is still effective enough to stop the spread of deadly and debilitating COVID-19. And that, folks, is our primary end-game.   

The fact is, COVID-19 will likely be with us for the rest of eternityjust as the flu virus that caused the pandemic of 1918 remains with us. Like so many other viruses, we will just have to learn to live with it. And vaccination is one key path toward that goal.  

But the bottom line is that having a vaccinated population isn’t the same thing as having an immune populationespecially in a world with such high rates of obesity. 

So please, DO NOT use these latest findings as an excuse to opt out of vaccination. Take it for what it truly is: An urgent wake-up call to do something about your weight now. Because you simply can’t afford to put it off any longer.   

Start eating right and exercising regularly. Your weight, immune system, and more will all benefit. And in the meantime, continue supporting your immune system throughout this pandemic with my top immune health recommendations—all of which are outlined in my Complete Guide to Year-Round Immunity. Click here to learn more

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“BMI, Age, and Gender Affect COVID-19 Vaccine Antibody Response.” Medscape Medical News, 03/03/2021. (