We know that people with elevated body weight are at a higher risk of more severe COVID-19 infection; as such, people with obesity were appropriately prioritized in many jurisdictions for earlier vaccination.


However, as prior studies have suggested a lower immune response to other (non-COVID) vaccines in people with obesity, the question has been raised as to whether the coronavirus vaccines are as effective in people with elevated body weight.


The Obesity Society has published a position statement on this important topic.  They critically evaluated data from published peer-reviewed literature and briefing documents from Emergency Use Authorization applications submitted by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

The efficacy data of the various COVID vaccinations are as follows:


We are still lacking in terms of more granular data on this important subject.  For instance, there is a lack of information about the relative efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines in the different subtypes of obesity (e.g., in people with very high BMI ≥60, different patterns of body fat distribution, etc).



As the authors conclude, the efficacy of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen COVID-19 vaccines are not significantly different in people with vs without obesity.


Vaccination is the best way to prevent COVID infection, for people of all sizes.


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A heartfelt thank you to my colleague Dr Paul Welsh at the University of Glasgow for bringing these important data to my attention, and for his important research in this area.


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