Pfizer coronavirus vaccine may be less effective in obesity: Study

WION Web Team
Rome, italy Updated: Mar 01, 2021, 12:45 PM(IST)

Pfizer coronavirus vaccine may be less effective in obesity Photograph:( Reuters )

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This has come after an earlier study had suggested that obesity can increase the risk of dying by coronavirus by nearly 50 per cent

The popular Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine against coronavirus might be a tad less effective on people suffering from obesity, a new study has revealed.

A group of Italian researchers have discovered that the healthcare workers who were injected with the Pfizer vaccine, and are obese were not able to produce as many antibodies as the other healthy healthcare workers.

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The obese healthcare workers were able to produce only half the amount of antibodies after the second jab of the Pfizer vaccine, in comparison to the healthy people.

Although the study is being pursued further and the researchers feel it is too soon as raise questions on the efficacy of the popular vaccine, this study might conclude that people with obesity need an additional booster dose of the vaccine to ensure safety against the deadly coronavirus.

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This has come after an earlier study had suggested that obesity can increase the risk of dying by coronavirus by nearly 50 per cent, and also increases the risk of being hospitalised by 113 per cent.

Aldo Venuti, from the Istituti Fisioterapici Ospitalieri in Rome, worked at a sample group of nearly 248 healthcare workers and assessed the data to reach this conclusion.

As per their study, 99.5 per cent of these healthcare workers had developed an antibody response seven days after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. This response was also greater than the people who had recovered from COVID-19 but was not the same in the people who were obsese and overweight.

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"Since obesity is a major risk factor for morbidity and mortality for patients with Covid-19, it is mandatory to plan an efficient vaccination programme in this subgroup," Venuti said. "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."

However, this study is not being taken as it is due to its limitation of the sample size. "We always knew that BMI was an enormous predictor of poor immune response to vaccines, so this paper is definitely interesting, although it is based on a rather small preliminary dataset," Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London was quoted by the Guardian. "It confirms that having a vaccinated population isn’t synonymous with having an immune population, especially in a country with high obesity, and emphasises the vital need for long-term immune monitoring programmes."

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