Friday, September 3, 2021

Who has compromised immune systems?

Age 65 and over was chosen because that is the age when the CDC recommends double-strength seasonal flu vaccine "because regular dosage does not illicit a robust immune response". Currently, one-of-six US citizens is 65 or older.

Some Auto-Immune disorders (Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Chrohn's, Psoriasis as examples) are treated with therapies that diminish the body's immune response. One-in-fourteen US citizens are currently diagnosed with an Auto-Immune disorder.

Uncontrolled (undiagnosed) diabetes is estimated at 7.3 million. 

Age 85 and over are immuno-suppressed by definition. One-in-fifty is 85 or older.

HIV positive, many are "under control" but many are not. One-in-three-hundred in round numbers.

Chemo/radiation in the last year. One-in-three-hundred.

Organ transplants, 40,000 a year. Number of survivors is difficult to find so I estimated using a 10-year post-transplant life expectancy. Recipients of transplants are commonly on drugs to suppress their immune system so their bodies do not reject the foreign organ.

If you add up the numbers (leaving out the over-85 because they are already counted in the over-65) you learn that as many as one-in-four falls into the category of Immuno-compromised. 


  1. That seems much higher than I expected. I wonder what the reference point is for non compromised?

    1. I admit that some people got double-counted. Some of the over-65 had other conditions and got double-counted.

      So it begs the question, if so many of these people are compromised and the vaccine bounces off of them, why expose them to the risks? The prudent thing to do would be to not vaccinate the auto-immunes, chemo yada, yada, yada.

      Stop marketing the vaccine as a silver bullet because it is not for 25% of the population.

  2. Auto-Immune disorder= a civil war being fought at your blood cell level. White blood cells start vainly attacking healthy tissue because they are looking for a foreign intruder that isn't there. So a normal inflammatory response turns cannibalistic and you have no choice but turn off your immune system which opens the door to bad stuff. I take Pentasa for Crohns, which in our current federal health insurance is not included on prescription formulary drug list. In fact most of the expensive auto immune drugs are not on that list. They got rid of preexisting condition clauses, but save tons of money by forcing me to get inferior generic drugs. Medicaid does cover Pentasa by the way.

  3. My wife hits several of those markers. Shogrens Disease*, type 2 Diabetes, and just finished radiation treatment for Cancer.

    * Shogrens is often a byproduct of Lupus, but the wife has primary shogrens.

  4. Might be hard to overlay, but approaching a third of the US population is also obese, and this seems to be the second-highest category of COVID deaths, after old age.

    Does anyone know where solid statistical data is available, the sort that can be queried? To understand things like:
    1. Average age of COVID-attributed deaths
    2. Median age, ditto
    3. BMI, ditto.

    I think these would make fascinating scatter plots, if anyone were looking for patterns. I think it's quite....disappointing, that the CDC and policy makers don't put a bit of focus into emphasizing, in their public communiques, the risk groups that need to prioritize getting the vaccine, the benefits of shedding weight and getting fresh-air exercise, the vitamin supplements that people should be taking (C, D, zinc, etc) to optimize health and immunity for COVID, etc. It's an information and policy shortfall that should not have been missed, and it also should have been prioritized for communication by medical professionals.

    1. Those are brilliant observations.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Sadly, BIG DATA like that is not accessible to the unwashed masses like me.

      I, for one, would like to take slices at every decade and see if obesity "grows" with age. Casual people-watching suggests that our girth grows with age just like trees' do.

      Some questions are the proverbial third-rail for professionals. And those tend to be the questions that are important.

      Go figure.

  5. Thankfully, I ONLY fit in the 65 and over...

  6. The entire Biden family would appear to be both compromised AND immune.

  7. Roger: in so many ways, and on so many levels!


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