COVID-19 cases fell dramatically in nursing homes after vaccinations, study finds

COVID Vaccine Updates

In this April 7, 2021 photo, a senior receives the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Service Center, in Clarksdale, Miss. Medicare will require nursing homes to report COVID-19 vaccination rates for residents and staff, the government said Tuesday, in what officials hope will become an incentive to keep giving shots even as the worst ravages of the pandemic ease in facilities across the land.(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities fell dramatically after people living in them were vaccinated.

The results of a study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week.

Researchers said the analysis was needed because of a lack of information on the vaccines’ effectiveness in people living in nursing homes. They said people in long-term care facilities often suffer from reduced immune response, but weren’t included in vaccine trials.

Researchers analyzed electronic health record data from Genesis HealthCare, a long-term care provider in the U.S. It included more than 18,000 people living in 280 nursing homes across 21 states.

The analysis found of the 13,048 residents who were fully vaccinated, just 38 people ended up being diagnosed with a coronavirus. Researchers point out that 19 of the 38 cases occurred 15 to 21 days after the second dose of the vaccine.

They also determined vaccinated people helped protect residents who were not vaccinated.

Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System said the analysis is encouraging.

“By having so many people vaccinated, it says 85% of the residents were vaccinated, even the ones who weren’t vaccinated are then protected, because all these other folks have been,” Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at the health system, said during a Facebook Live briefing. “What it just tells us is, man, get your vaccine and we can take care of each other.”

Stites also pointed out that 30% of all deaths related to COVID-19 happened at nursing homes.

“That’s the most vulnerable population and the vaccines without question have demonstrated efficacy in that population,” Stites said.

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