Obesity may inhibit the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, according to research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

A small percentage of people became ill, despite receiving the shot. In the case of obese participants, 9.8% of them had either confirmed influenza or influenza-like illnesses, compared with 5.1% of those of healthy weight.

“Vaccinated obese adults are twice as likely to develop influenza and influenza-like illnesses compared to vaccinated healthy weight adults,” says co-author Beck, who speculates that this is due to the fact that the T cells of obese people do not function properly. These cells support the protection and recovery from influenza, and the researchers have previously reported obese people have impaired T cell responses to influenza vaccine.

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