COVID-19 vaccine may not be as effective in a third of US population

Posted at 6:21 PM, Aug 13, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. - The White House is hoping a COVID-19 vaccine will be available at the end of the year. However, some researchers are worried it won't be effective for a significant number of people.

According to the American Medical Association, more than 35% of the US population is obese.

We talked to an Eastern Virginia Medical School infectious disease expert about a study in the International Journal of Obesity that warned that vaccines that prevent viruses are less effective in obese people.

"Turns out that a BMI of 30 or greater is obesity, and what they have found is that obese people have a high rate of hospitalization, higher rate of going to the intensive care unit and dying than people with a BMI under 30," said Dr. Edward Oldfield.

Dr. Oldfield goes on to say that there are several reasons a potential vaccine may not be effective for obese people.

Related: Local COVID-19 researcher says effects of virus could last months

"If it's an intramuscular vaccine, you've got all this fat, then it's going to be difficult to get through it, and it turns out fat is an organ - it has inflammatory cells. Obese people have a higher rate of inflammation than lean people," he explained.

Dr. Oldfield says it's important for people to keep their weight down, exercise daily and eat a healthy diet. He says by doing all these, you'll most likely have a better outcome when a vaccine is available.

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