A study published on Wednesday said that people in nursing homes are more likely to die from COVID-19 if their caregivers live largely unvaccinated. New England Journal of Medicine met.
The research, from Harvard Medical School and the University of Rochester in New York, is based on data from 12,364 nursing homes — or 81 percent of such facilities in the United States — collected as a delta variant across the country this past summer.
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The study found that as of June, the COVID vaccination rate among staff members varied widely, from 31 percent to 83 percent.
When researchers looked at the effects on residents’ health through August, he said, the effects were clear.
Covid-19 cases among residents that had the lowest employee vaccination rates were almost twice as high as those in facilities with the highest employee vaccination rates.
And the COVID-related mortality rate among residents in low-vaccination facilities was nearly three times that of facilities with the highest levels of staff immunization.
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Brian McGarry, one of the study’s authors, said the finding occurred even after nursing home residents themselves had been vaccinated against Covid.
“Even though residents are protected by their vaccinations, they are still relying on an additional layer of protection from staff,” McGarry, an assistant professor in the division of geriatrics and aging in the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester, said. .
The data used in the study came primarily from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The results of the study disappointed those who care for older people. So far, people over the age of 65 accounted for the largest percentage of COVID-19 deaths in the US
“Where is the national outrage?” said Dr. Michael Wasserman, head of the public policy committee of the California Association of Long Term Care Medicine.
Wasserman said it is clear that people living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities continue to get infected and, in turn, become seriously ill by the staff who care for them on a day-to-day basis.
“We know that nursing home staff is a major vector for transmitting the virus,” Wasserman said. During the pandemic, he said, it is nursing home workers who provide most of the care for their long-term residents. The outside members of the family have been largely turned away due to the Covid-19 protocol.
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The residents of the nursing home are vulnerable to the most serious illness from Kovid-19.
“By definition, any illness is going to be more serious for them,” said Dr. James Powers, a geriatrician at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.
“They could have diabetes, they could have heart disease,” he said. “They make you vulnerable to worse infections.”
This means that even in nursing homes with high rates of staff vaccination, residents are at risk.
Vaccine delays alert geriatricians like McGarry.
“When the vaccines were introduced last December and January, it was a sigh of relief,” he said. “Nursing home residents were the first in line, and we all saw a drop in the case count and the death count.”
Now, McGarry said, he and his colleagues say they hope adequate safeguards are in place to prevent further spread.
The idea is to keep nursing home residents “safe as the community spreads again, rising over Christmas and winter when viruses typically thrive.”
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