HealthDay News — Before the omicron wave, increasing vaccination for staff at US nursing homes was associated with fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths among residents and fewer cases among staff, according to a study published online in JAMA Network Open.

Soham Sinha and R. Tamara Konetzka, PhD, from the University of Chicago, examined the extent to which staff vaccination was associated with preventing COVID-19 cases and deaths among residents and staff in nursing homes in a longitudinal study. The primary analysis was performed at 15,042 US nursing homes before the omicron variant wave (May 30 to December 5, 2021).

The researchers found that increasing weekly staff vaccination rates by 10 percentage points was associated with 0.13 fewer weekly COVID-19 cases per 1000 residents; 0.02 fewer weekly COVID-19 deaths per 1000 residents; and 0.03 fewer weekly COVID-19 staff cases in the primary analysis. Increasing staff vaccination rates was not associated with lower rates of adverse COVID-19 outcomes in nursing homes in the secondary analysis of the omicron wave from December 5, 2021, to January 30, 2022.

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“With unpredictable outbreaks of new, more infectious, and transmissible strains of the COVID-19 virus, evolving policy, potentially including mandates for additional booster doses for staff, may be needed to confer adequate protection against adverse outcomes of COVID-19 in nursing homes,” the authors write.

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