COVID vaccine 90 per cent effective in trials

Obese Aussies won’t get benefit of COVID-19 vaccine


Overweight and obese Australians may not benefit from the full effects of a COVID-19 vaccine, the UK pioneer of intermittent fasting has told SMARTdaily.

Dr Michael Mosley said research had shown the efficacy of the flu and hepatitis vaccines was halved in obese and overweight patients - and the COVID-19 vaccine is expected to follow a similar trajectory.

"Getting weight under control is critical for dealing with this virus," he said. "We know a vaccine is less likely to work in people who have too much central obesity.

"The fat around your tummy sends out these signals which undermine the effectiveness of the immune system."

Obesity is also a major problem for people who contract COVID, as they have a higher risk of requiring hospitalisation and ventilation, particularly if they carry excess weight around the neck area, Dr Mosley said.

Dr Michael Mosley. Picture: supplied
Dr Michael Mosley. Picture: supplied

The doctor and best-selling author of books such as The Fast Diet, The Fast 800, The Clever Guts Diet, Fast Asleep and, most recently, COVID-19 - What you need to know about the coronavirus and the race for the vaccine, is in Australia preparing for a national tour next year.

He and GP wife Clare have just completed a 14-day quarantine in Perth, an experience he found challenging. The couple created a daily routine that included lots of exercise, such as high-intensity, seven-minute workouts.

Dr Mosley said he had been in regular contact with researchers working on a COVID-19 vaccine and it was looking promising.

As well as Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, working with Oxford university, are expected to publish positive vaccine findings shortly, he said.

"I'm super optimistic we will have a vaccine by the end of the year," he said.

"I talk to everyone (researchers) on a regular basis and it's going to be very effective. There may need to be a booster dose. It's great news because the vaccine is the only thing that's going to save us."

While the vaccine is not likely to be freely available in Australia until next year, Dr Mosely said this gave people time to work on losing weight and becoming more active.

"When you lose the belly fat you sleep better and that has a profound effect on the immune system," he said. "Now is the time." He said rapid weight loss and intermittent fasting had the backing of science, and were easy to stick with. He said rapid weight loss was particularly effective for losing belly fat.

Dr Mosley will tour Australia and New Zealand with a unique live show, Your Body: An Evening of Discovery. He will be appearing in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in April-May. Tickets are on sale through Lateral Events. He said the show would delve into the inner workings of the human body, paying particular attention to the immune system.

Adopting a Meditteranean diet can also help. Picture: supplied
Adopting a Meditteranean diet can also help. Picture: supplied

He would also be sharing his extensive experience about how diet, exercise and sleep can improve health and wellbeing.

"It will be a celebration of the human body," he said. "Sleep will be a big part of it, as sleep has a big impact on your immune system."

Dr Mosley's top tips for reducing COVID-19 risk include:

Wash hands and maintain social distancing at all times;

Lose weight;

Get enough sleep - vital for a healthy immune system;

Be more active. Exercise will improve sleep, reduce weight and support a healthy immune system;

Follow a Mediterranean diet. This is known to have anti-inflammatory and mood-improving benefits.

Originally published as Obese Aussies won't get benefit of COVID-19 vaccine