According to a recent study published in the individuals who are obese and who received the flu shot are twice as likely to get the flu as their normal weight peers. In the study, conducted by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, researchers analyzed data collected from 1,022 North Carolinian adults who had received the influenza vaccine during the 2013-2014 or 2015-2016 flu seasons and found that almost 10 percent of the obese participants got the flu despite being vaccination versus approximately 5 percent of the participants who were considered healthy weight. The study suggest that the efficacy of the flu shot is less in obese individuals because their T cells, which play a central role in developing the body’s immune response to influenza viruses, do not function properly and the heavier they are, the lower their immune response to the shot is over time. The findings of this study will likely prompt additional research into the need for a stronger flu vaccine to provide adequate protection for this demographic moving forward.
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