Vaccination Protects Overweight, Obese Against Severe COVID-19

Protection against severe COVID-19 similar for those with overweight, obesity versus healthy weight; lower protection seen for underweight

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FRIDAY, July 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Vaccination protects against severe COVID-19 among people with overweight and obesity, with the magnitude of protection similar to that of healthy weight people, according to a study published online June 30 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Carmen Piernas, Ph.D., from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a population-based cohort study involving 9,171,524 participants aged 18 years or older between Dec. 8, 2020, and Nov. 17, 2021, with available data on body mass index (BMI).

The researchers found that 19.2 percent of the total study sample was unvaccinated and 3.1, 52.6, and 25.0 percent had one, two, and three vaccine doses, respectively. Uptake of two or three doses was more than 80 percent among those with overweight or obesity among people aged 40 years or older, compared with 70 to 83 percent among underweight people. Protection against severe COVID-19 disease was high after 14 days or more from the second dose for hospital admission and death. Significant linear associations were seen between BMI and COVID-19 hospitalization and death after the first dose in the vaccinated cohort, and J-shaped associations were seen after the second dose.

"Our results provide reassurance to people with obesity that COVID-19 vaccines are equally as effective for them as for people with a lower BMI, and that vaccination substantially reduces their risk of severe illness if they are infected with COVID-19," Piernas said in a statement. "These data also highlight the need for targeted efforts to increase vaccine uptake in people with a low BMI, where uptake is currently lower than for people with a higher BMI."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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