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How Effective is the COVID Vaccine for People with Weakened Immune Systems?

How effective are COVID vaccines in people with weakened immune systems?

Updated with webinar video 22/9/21


COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to work well in protecting against COVID-19 infection, although studies have mainly been in people without significant health problems. But what about people with weakened immune systems? There are a number of ongoing research studies investigating the protective response to COVID vaccines.

In particular, there are the OCTAVE and OCTAVE DUO trials, in which some PSC patients are taking part.

The OCTAVE trial is investigating whether people with health problems or treatments that affect their immune system are also protected by COVID-19 vaccines.

The OCTAVE-DUO trial goes a step further and aims to find out whether a third primary dose of the vaccine for COVID-19 can help generate a better immune response in immune compromised patients with chronic health conditions or cancer.

Want to know more about COVID vaccines in people with weakened immune systems?

The British Society for Immunology held a free public webinar on ‘COVID-19 vaccines: how effective are they in people with weakened immune systems?’ on Wednesday 15 September.

Approximately half a million people in the UK have immune systems that function sub-optimally, either due to a medical condition or due to medication they take. How well do vaccines work for these people in protecting them from catching COVID-19?

Join this panel of experts to hear about the cutting-edge research to understand the immune response after COVID-19 vaccination in people who are immunosuppressed and how this can be managed. What can we do in future to protect this group of people from COVID-19? What is the patient perspective and how can lived experience be meaningfully involved in immunology research? There will also be a chance to ask the panel your questions about COVID-19 immunology and vaccines.

This webinar was aimed at a public audience.


  • Sir Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome
  • Lynn Laidlaw, Patient and Public Involvement Contributor from UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium
  • Professor Paul Moss, University of Birmingham, Principal Investigator of UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium
  • Dr Michelle Willicombe, Imperial College London


  • Dr Doug Brown, British Society for Immunology