Viruses & Immunization: Who is at the Highest Risk of not Responding to Immunizations and getting COVID?

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Your best chance of a successful immunization is having robust health, ideal weight, and good testosterone levels.

There are known risks for individuals not responding to a vaccine e.g. Covid.   The factors that are key to responding to a vaccine hinge on the health and intact immune system of the patient.  The immune system is affected by your lifestyle, genetics, age and current medical conditions.  If your immune system is healthy, it will respond as predicted to make antibodies to kill the virus you are immunized against. In one sentence, healthy people respond to vaccines as they should and are protected against that virus from invading your body and causing disease. Immunized people with intact immune systems should not be able to transmit the disease either because they don’t actually get infected by the virus!

Sadly, the very people who need the vaccine the most, because they are at high risk, sick, old or have high risk genetics, are the very people who often do not develop an immune response to immunizations. The immune systems of these people do not respond with adequate immunity, or they only respond minimally, and it is not enough to prevent getting the virus.  These are the only people who should be told to get a booster shot!

Because Immunizations are only as effective as your immune system, the factors that prevent a vaccine from working are the same as the factors that put you at risk for getting the virus, and a more severe form of the virus. So, what are the risks for having poor immune response to a virus or an immunization?


Age, Lifestyle, and Genetic Risks:

  • Age over 60 without Testosterone replacement—Testosterone stimulates your thymus gland to make more T killer and T helper cells as well as to increase antibody response to viruses.
  • Age under 3 months is a time when babies are using up or losing the antibodies their mothers gave them through the placenta and they have not yet developed a fully competent immune system themselves. Babies 1-3 months should stay at home and limit visitors.  Breastfeeding improves their chances of being protected from viruses.
  • Poor nutrition: Junk food, highly processed food, with high sugar content (viruses LOVE sugar!) suppress the activity of the immune system.
  • Inadequate Vitamin D blood level. A level under 40 puts everyone at higher risk to get viruses.  In light-skinned people the sun can give them enough Vitamin D, but southern European, Polynesian, Hispanics and African Americans cannot absorb much vitamin D from the sun and must take it orally!  5,000 IU per day should be enough to supplement with.
  • Smoking suppresses the immune system
  • Alcohol consumption over 10 drinks a week lowers your immunity
  • Obesity increases inflammation and lowers immunity
  • Lack of exercise suppresses the immune response
  • High stress lifestyle
  • Lack of sleep (optimal sleep is 8-9 hours a night).
  • Night shifts
  • Meth, Cocaine and Heroin of course is going suppress your immunity.
  • Your specific genetic makeup

During the covid pandemic of 2020 scientists and geneticists have been studying the genetics of those people who have gotten severe covid infections and those people who have been exposed and didn’t get it. They also have studied the genetics of people who don’t respond to the vaccine. They have found a group of genetic snips (pieces) that are present in each of these groups.  They are publishing their findings in the Journal of Nature: Covid Host Genetics Initiative. Mapping the genetic architecture of Covid 19. Nature


Medical reasons for Getting viruses and not responding to vaccines.

To treat disease doctors often must suppress the immune system of a patient to control the disease. This type of treatment decreases immunity in general and decreases the effectiveness of an immunization. Some drugs such as corticosteroids or Biologics, suppress the immune system and prevent the immune response necessary to develop antibodies to a virus from a vaccine.

Those people who are chronically ill currently or in the past (heart disease, lung disease, Cancer, Diabetes, COPD, chronic infections etc.) have immune systems that have been overworked and are currently directed toward a different target, so a chronically ill patient may not develop immunity from a vaccine.

If you are on one of these medications or have other chronic illnesses, you should prove that your immunization was successful by get a blood test for antibodies to the virus before you take your mask off.

Medical reasons for non-response to vaccines and for increased risk for getting viruses:

  • Autoimmune disease on immunosuppressant medication
  • History of cancer treated with radiation and or chemotherapy can suppress your immune system for a lifetime.
  • Organ Transplant on immune suppressants
  • AIDS
  • Chronic inflammation for any reason
  • Diabetes and Pre-diabetes
  • Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
  • Having a viral or bacterial infection when you get the immunization
  • Chronic Medical Illness
  • Pregnancy
  • Low testosterone levels in old age

Clearly your best chance of a successful immunization is having robust health, ideal weight, youth, good testosterone levels and lack of disease.  These are not reasons to avoid immunization, but they are good reasons to have a test to document that you are immune after you get a vaccine before you go out in public and expose yourself. You can’t change the past, or your genetics, but you can change your habits and check your immunity if you are at high risk!

This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author.  (314) 993-0963

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