Sometimes we want to ignore those big things in our lives.

Several companies around the world are nearly on the cusp of having a COVID-19 vaccine. Many believe this is what we need to return to a normal life. The COVID-19 vaccine will stop the spread and save lives!

We know that new vaccines are not that effective. Vaccines provide some level of protection. Is it better to get the vaccine than not? Most doctors agree that it is best to get the vaccine than to opt-out.

However, the elephant in the room is obesity. We see it daily. Obese people have more health problems. Other viral vaccines are less effective in obese people. There is no reason to believe that the COVID-19 vaccine will succeed where others have failed.

Can you tailor or adapt a vaccine to be more effective with the obese? Probably, but not for the pandemic sweeping the world right now. It takes years to validate the effectiveness of a vaccine and get it to the public.

The vaccination protocols are not established to determine dose and frequency for the obese. Should they get 30% more? Should they get two shots 30 days apart? No one knows.

We do know that if you are seriously overweight, have high blood pressure, and diabetic, your risk of dying from COVID-19 is many times higher than a person with no pre-existing conditions, regardless of age. Add age into the equation and you increase that risk even more.

What exactly is the definition of obesity? It is the state of being well overweight for your height and body composition. If you are 20% over your ideal weight, you are considered obese.

Consider a male who is 5’6” tall. His ideal weight is 128 to 156 lbs. A female of the same height has an ideal weight of 117 to 143 lbs. A 5’6” male weighing over 185 lbs. would be considered obese, as would a 5’6” female weighing over 160 lbs.

We see the BMI – body mass index – used to determine obesity. BMI was originally created to study populations of people, not individuals. Each person is different. If you are a bodybuilder with 5% body fat and weight 185 lbs. and happen to be 5’6” tall, you would not look or be considered obese!

Over 100 million Americans (40% of adults) are obese. Almost half that total fit into another category called morbidly obese – weighing 100 lbs. over your ideal weight. This category has the highest health risks for cardiovascular disease and cancer without the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our immune systems protect us. Inflammation is controlled – turned on and off – by the immune system based on the situation at hand. Carrying around extra fat increases inflammation in the body. Inflammation is constant. It cannot be turned off with the obese. The effectiveness of vaccines is inhibited by inflammation.

The lower effectiveness of vaccines in the obese has been documented many times. If the vaccine can be injected into muscle rather than fat, you stand a better chance of effectiveness. If you are obese and getting any type of vaccine, you might ask for a longer needle.

A 2017 study published in The International Journal of Obesity reported that obese adults vaccinated for influenza had twice the risk of developing influenza. Antibodies were present in the obese adults but did not protect as well as antibodies in those closer to ideal weight.

The bottom line – get the vaccine if you are overweight, obese, or morbidly obese. It is better than not getting it according to health professionals.

My concern is that we will be protecting the elderly with pre-existing conditions for future infestations of COVID-19 through the remainder of this year and the next. We have nothing to stop the virus’s progress. Should we also be protecting those with weight issues?

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –


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