INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Americans with obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and/or heart disease account for two-thirds of COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to a new study.
News 8 spoke with Dr. Michael Weiner, scientist at the Regenstrief Institute, who said he’s not surprised by the statistics.
“We expect to see these links because those conditions are associated with other adverse outcomes aside from COVID-19. To expect that these conditions would contribute to an immunocompromised state and a strain on the cardiovascular system and impaired healing related to infections? That’s very much expected. Unfortunately.”
Authors assessed over 900,000 people infected with the coronavirus, and 30% of patients were obese while 28% had high blood pressure; 21% of cases were diabetic and 12% had heart failure.
These individuals are already sick, which raises the question if their response to the vaccine may be less robust compared to those who do not have the disease. What’s more, it may also mean they are more at risk of reinfection even after getting the vaccine.
“It’s certainly a possibility. We may be in a situation where revaccination is warranted. When and how that question remains to be answered. But I think it’s quite possible. We just need to learn more and study more about that.”
Despite this, Weiner, who is also a professor of medicine at Indiana University, says when it’s your turn in line, get vaccinated.
“There is a lot of evidence that the vaccine can lessen the burden of illness and plenty of evidence that it looks to be very safe. I think that should send a good signal to everyone in the public that they should really strongly consider getting the vaccine when given the opportunity.”
News 8’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral research scientist. She has been a health, medical and science reporter for over 6 years. Her work has been featured in national media outlets. You can follow her on Facebook @DrMaryGillis and Instagram @reportergillis.