The Obese Require Larger Vaccine Dosages

The Obese Require Larger Vaccine Dosages.

From Dr. Darria Long on CNN and a Medscape article by Sarah Varney, we find that obesity hinders the effectiveness of influenza vaccines.  As some comedian says:  again, this is something you could have told me six months ago!  The punch line, is to try giving higher vaccine doses to obese people, just as you give seniors double doses of the influenza vaccines.  This may apply to some Coronavirus vaccines as well.  We will discuss the reason for this difference later.

Obese is defined as a body mass index of 30 or more.  Morbidly obese is a body mass index of 40 or more.  Dr. Long gives an example of a woman at 5’6” and 200 pounds.  If she could lose 30 pounds, she would reduce the risk of needing a ventilator by 30%.  If she could lose 50 pounds, she would reduce the need for a ventilator by 80%.  Clearly, these are impossible goals to attain in even a 6 month period.

The real usefulness of both of these outlooks, are to motivate obese people to avoid getting the Coronavirus in the first place, using all of the methods that are now well known.  I would add to those to get an N95 mask to avoid catching the virus as well as spreading it.

From Dr. Long, obesity provides more Ace II receptors which the Coronavirus latches onto with its spikes, in order to enter cells and multiply.  In addition, obesity leads to more blood clots and a cytokine storm, as well as more weight on the lungs. 

107 million Americans are obese, that is with a Body Mass Index greater than or equal to 30.  Elsewhere, it is stated that 42.4% of American adults are obese.  About 9% of American adults are morbidly obese with a BMI of 40 or over, which is about 100 pounds overweight. 

From Medscape, “fat induces a chronic state of inflammation, which seems to interfere with the immune response to vaccines, leaving people subject to illness”.  With the normal dose of vaccine, obese people are twice as likely to get influenza.  It is still better to get vaccinated.

The new influenza vaccine is at my pharmacy now, but I was told that it might take a month for the senior or double doses to come out.

Again:  I am not a doctor.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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