Vaccines and obesity

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The folks over at Effect Measure posted their take on a recent research article about vaccinating obese adolescents. The researchers were trying to see if needle length had an effect on the amount of antibody titer found in the subject’s blood after vaccination. The researchers found that those vaccinated with a 1.5″ needle  had higher antibody titers than subjects vaccinated with a 1.0″ needle.

I wish I could see the entire article, but unfortunately I don’t have access to Pediatrics and the abstract will have to suffice. The study itself was small, with only 22 young women and 2 young men receiving the Hepatitis B vaccine over 3 years. It raises an interesting point and possibly names another negative consequence of the obesity crisis in this country.

Of course, one study doesn’t tell us if using shorter needles constitutes under-vaccinating in obese individuals. In fact, it raises so many questions. Is it the needle size or the person that is the bigger factor in antibody levels? Will nurses have to start taking skin fold measurements before administering vaccines? Would vaccine needles have to start coming in many different sizes, to accommodate different levels of girth? And how will the anti-vaccine folks respond to this?

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