French study warns COVID outbreaks still possible in nursing homes

Researchers say unvaccinated residents were 3 times more likely to develop COVID, infections milder among those vaccinated with no severe cases

French study warns COVID outbreaks still possible in nursing homes

French researchers are warning that outbreaks are still possible, especially in the most vulnerable.

Nursing homes were the hardest hit throughout the pandemic, and there remains concern about how effective the vaccines are in the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

Researchers studied a COVID outbreak in a nursing home in the France. Seventy-five percent of the residents and 52% of the staff were fully vaccinated. Blood tests showed all but one of the fully vaccinated residents had antibodies against COVID-19.

Read: Michigan Auditor General’s office to study state’s COVID deaths in nursing homes

Over the next seven weeks, 26% of the residents and 22 percent of the staff were infected with COVID.

Infected residents tended to be older, with an average age of 91. Twelve of the 24 infected residents were not fully vaccinated, and all of the infected staff members were unvaccinated.

Researchers found the vaccine was 68% effective in elderly residents. However, unvaccinated residents were three times more likely to develop COVID, and infections were milder among the vaccinated residents with no severe cases.

Researchers say the study suggests the elderly may still be at risk of COVID even when they are fully vaccinated because the immune system tends to weaken as people age and multiple health conditions are common.

They also stress that the outbreak highlights the need for high vaccination rates among residents and staff in nursing homes to prevent outbreaks and protect everyone more effectively.

Read: Survey: 94% of US nursing homes experiencing staff shortage amid pandemic

About the Author:

Kimberly Gill joined the Local 4 News team in November 2014. She was named Personality of the Year in 2009 by the Ohio Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame. She’s also a two-time Emmy winner.