The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine may be less effective in people who have obesity, according to a new study from Italian researchers.

What’s going on?

Italian researchers recently discovered in new data that health care workers with obesity produced about half the antibodies from a second jab compared to healthy people, The Guardian reports.

  • “Although it is too soon to know what this means for the efficacy of the vaccine, it might imply that people with obesity need an additional booster dose to ensure they are adequately protected against coronavirus,” according to The Guardian.
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Obesity has led to increasing risk of death from COVID-19 — which is one reason why it’s one of the medical issues that allows you to get the vaccine in Utah.

Per The Guardian, obesity’s risk with COVID-19 might be one reason why the vaccine could be ineffective.

  • “Some of this may be because people with obesity often have other underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes, that increase their risk from the coronavirus, but excess body fat can also cause metabolic changes, such as insulin resistance and inflammation, which make it harder for the body to fight off infections.”

Still, get the vaccine

Experts still encourage those with obesity to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they qualify in their state. Dr. Fatima Stanford, an obesity medicine physician, told NPR that obesity is “a good measure” to assess potential risk factors.

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  • Those with obesity who don’t get vaccinated are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
  • “We’re talking about two inflammatory conditions. We have chronic inflammation associated with obesity, the disease, not playing well with the acute inflammatory process of COVID-19,” said Stanford, who works at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.