Study: Obesity can blunt effectiveness of hep B vaccine

An epidemic of obesity in American teens is forcing clinicians to reconsider how they vaccinate young people.

A new study says that obese teens will need longer needles if they're to be effectively vaccinated against hepatitis B. In a study of 22 obese teens, investigators found that the standard one-inch needle spurs only a weak response to the vaccine while a 1.5 inch needle provided a higher antibody count.

"As obesity rises in the U.S., we need to be aware that the standard of care may have to change to protect obese youth," study co-author Dr. Amy Middleman of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston tells Reuters.

There may be a bonus here for patients, though. Experts say that longer needles are less painful and associated with fewer side effects than short needles.

- here's the story from Reuters