Booster vaccines reduce cases of COVID-19 among residents of healthcare facilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the number of industry cases has stabilized at a high level and it is still unclear how many U.S. facilities administered the injections, The New York Times reports.
About 42% of Americans aged 65 and over received a booster dose, the Times reported. And it seems that the hits are having the desired effect. Recent data reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network shows that the rate of COVID-19 cases is “significantly lower” among nursing home residents who received a third dose of the vaccine compared to those vaccinated with just two doses, said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, in a recent press briefing.
Despite this proof of success, the number of cases has still hovered around 4,000 every week since October, according to the CDC’s COVID. data tracker. And there is no recall data for publicly available nursing homes yet, the Times reported.
Boosters were needed in July
Given the horrific death rate in nursing homes in the first year of the pandemic, the success of the initial COVID-19 vaccine deployment, and the evidence of waning vaccine effectiveness, the booster vaccines should have been be cleared by July for this population, an expert told The Times. Instead, the first booster vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech) was not cleared until September.
In addition, the absence of a national strategy for the administration of booster vaccines to residents of nursing homes puts them at risk, according to some experts. Most residents of long-term care facilities received their initial injections at the start of the deployment, which began in January. For some, it has been 11 months since they were vaccinated.
âWhat has been surprising is the lack of data and attention to nursing homes this time around,â said Ashish Jha, MD, of the Brown University School of Public Health. âThe data was clear at the time,â he told The Times. âWe were seeing a decrease in immunity, especially in the elderly. “