MAR 06, 2024 9:40 AM PST

What Happened When a Man Got 217 COVID Vaccinations

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Many of us wanted to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it was available, and went to get additional COVID-19 vaccine shots and boosters when they became available. But at least one person out there took that precaution to a wild extreme, by receiving what they claim was 217 COVID-19 vaccine doses; of those, 134 have been officially confirmed, which is still an astonishing number of shots. Researchers learned of this case from media reports, and reached out to the individual to see if they were interested in being the subject of some scientific investigations. The person, who had gotten multiple doses of eight different vaccines, agreed to the study; the findings have been reported in The Lancet Infectious Disease.

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a cell (pink) infected with the Omicron strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (blue), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID

The study authors have cautioned that this report only includes data from one person, so it is not indicative of what might happen to others in the same situation. Some researchers have thought that an excessive number of vaccine doses would actually impair the immune system, but this research showed that the person's immune system has remained totally functional. They also carry particularly high levels of certain antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, compared to people who have had three doses of the vaccine.

Vaccinations are meant to prime the immune system; they expose it to a small bit of a pathogen so that the immune system will generate antibodies against that pathogen. Then if there is an exposure, the immune system is already prepared to fight the pathogen with existing antibodies.

But in some chronic infections that can flare up chronically, like HIV or hepatitis B, some immune cells may become worn out and start releasing lower levels of substances that promote inflammation, and fight infection, explained corresponding study author Dr. Kilian Schober of FAU.

This study has suggested that repeated exposure to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines may not have the same effect on the immune system as those other viruses, however.

The researchers were able to assess multiple samples taken from the hypervaccinated individual throughout the period in which the doses were received. Some of them were frozen blood samples. The investigators also took new samples. The investigators found that there were high levels of T-effector cells that can fight SARS-CoV-2. There was also no indication of fatigue in these effector cells.

The scientists examined memory T cells in this patient, which can replenish effector cells. There were just as many memory T cells in the patient as in control cases.

 “Overall, we did not find any indication for a weaker immune response, rather the contrary," added study co-author Katharina Kocher.

Additionally, the immune system was also just as effective against other pathogens. Hypervaccination did not damage this person's immune system, and it has also suggested that the mRNA vaccines are quote tolerable.

However, there is also no indication that people should get extra COVID-19 vaccinations if they are not recommended for their age group or by their healthcare provider. A three-dose series (not 200) with regular boosters is still recommended for most adults.

Sources: Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), The Lancet Infectious Diseases

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
Loading Comments...