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HomeNewsWho are still at risk of severe Covid infection, deaths despite vaccine? 

Who are still at risk of severe Covid infection, deaths despite vaccine? 

Three years since the COVID pandemic began, it seems like the severity of the infection have reduced significantly. But a new study pointed out that the risk of severe infections and death still remains for some even after taking the vaccines. 

The researchers for the study, which has been published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, said that carried out an experiment before vaccines became available and it showed obesity is one of the factors that increases a person’s risk of being hospitalised or dying from COVID. A similar study was again conducted once again after the jabs came into the picture. It pointed out, underweight individuals also carry the risk of severe disease.

The experts said, early findings on the people most at risk were used to support policies that prioritised certain groups of people for vaccination. This included people with a BMI of 40 or above. People in the range of 18.5–25 are considered healthy weight. There are also studies that showed some vaccines work less well in people with obesity, although we don’t fully understand the reasons for this.

Vaccines might not be effective if you are underweight

To investigate vaccine effectiveness across different body weights, we looked at the risk of severe COVID outcomes (such as hospitalisation and death) across the full BMI range. Within BMI groups, we compared people who were vaccinated with people of the same age, sex and other characteristics who hadn’t been vaccinated.

We found COVID vaccines were highly effective against severe outcomes in all BMI categories, especially after the second and third doses. After the second dose, vaccinated people in healthy weight, overweight or obesity groups were almost 70% less likely to be hospitalised as a result of COVID than their unvaccinated counterparts. Similarly, vaccinated people in the healthy weight, overweight and obesity groups were around 60%–74% less likely to die from COVID than unvaccinated people with the same BMI.

Our results indicate that COVID vaccines may be slightly less effective in people who are underweight. Vaccinated people who were underweight were around 50% less likely to be hospitalised and around 40% less likely to die than their unvaccinated counterparts. Of course, this still represents a good level of protection.

For the study, the group used anonymous health records from more than 9 million people aged 18 and older in England. Our data covered the period from December 8 2020 (the date the first COVID vaccine was administered in the UK) until November 17 2021. During this time, 566,461 people out of the 9 million tested positive for COVID, of which 32,808 were admitted to hospital and 14,389 died.

(With inputs from agencies)


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