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Researchers Studied Man Who Claimed To Have Had 217 COVID Shots. Here’s What They Found.

A 62-year-old man who claims to have received 217 COVID-19 vaccinations shows no signs of adverse events linked to the shots and appears to have stronger immunity against the virus than others, researchers said as they cautioning others to not get more than the recommended vaccinations.

In a study published Monday in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, researchers in Germany said they were surprised by the findings, expecting the man’s immune cells to be less effective after becoming used to the antigens administered through eight different vaccines.

“Over all, we did not find any indication for a weaker immune response, rather the contrary,” Katharina Kocher, one of the leading authors of the study, said in a news release.

A healthcare worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. The man studied in Germany said he received the vaccination 217 times, though only 134 of those instances were proven by local officials.

Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and Universitätsklinikum Erlangen in Germany said they reached out to the man, who is not identified in the study, after seeing his unusual story in newspaper reports.

According to the study, a public prosecutor had collected evidence to officially support 130 of his claimed 217 vaccinations while investigating him for possible fraud. No criminal charges were filed against him.

The researchers invited the man, who said the shots took place over 29 months, to undergo various testing, and “he was very, very interested in doing so,” said Dr. Kilian Schober from FAU’s Institute of Microbiology.

As part of the study, the man, who said he received the multiple shots for “private reasons,” permitted researchers to study various blood tests that he had undergone in recent years, including samples that had been frozen. They also took samples of blood from him after he received yet another vaccination dose, which was done “at his own insistence,” Schober said.

“We were able to use these samples to determine exactly how the immune system reacts to the vaccination,” Schober said.

The study ultimately found no change to the effectiveness of the man’s immune system in fighting other pathogens. The man also did not have any noticeable side effects from the vaccinations and showed considerably higher concentrations of certain immune cells and antibodies that fight SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, than people who have only received three vaccinations.

“While we found no signs of SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections in [the man] to date, it cannot be clarified whether this is causally related to the hypervaccination regimen. Importantly, we do not endorse hypervaccination as a strategy to enhance adaptive immunity,” the study concludes.

Last month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, advising adults 65 and older to receive an additional, updated vaccine dose. People who are immunocompromised had already been eligible for the additional dose.

“Data continues to show the importance of vaccination to protect those most at risk for severe outcomes of COVID-19,” the CDC said. “An additional dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine may restore protection that has waned since a fall vaccine dose, providing increased protection to adults ages 65 years and older.”

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