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Tuesday 6 June 2023 Dublin: 14°C
Vaccination had 'significant impact' at decreasing Covid-19 cases in nursing homes
Vaccination was a major factor determining outbreaks, as well as whether a home had suffered an outbreak in the past.

AN UPDATED ANALYSIS by HIQA and the HSPC of Covid-19 outbreaks in nursing homes found that the national vaccination rollout during the the pandemic’s third wave caused a major decrease in outbreaks.

The analysis by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) surveyed 595 nursing homes from the beginning of the pandemic until the HSE cyber-attack in May 2021.

Statistical models found that a nursing home’s likelihood of hosting an outbreak fell by two thirds after the first dose of vaccinations was rolled out to residents and fell by a factor of fifteen after second doses were administered.

592 suspected or confirmed outbreaks were documented in the analysis among residents and staff across 389 nursing homes.

Dr Conor Teljeur, HIQA’s Chief Scientist, said: “There were more outbreaks in the third wave than during the first two waves combined, but fewer nursing homes had more than one outbreak.”

“The impact of vaccination roll-out was pronounced and positive; once vaccination was rolled out, homes were less likely to have an outbreak and if an outbreak occurred, it was smaller.”

The update, which added data from the pandemic’s third wave, was undertaken following a request from the Covid-19 Nursing Homes Expert Panel and added to an analysis published in May of last year.

While accounting for 2% of the population, those aged 85 years and older accounted for approximately 13% of hospitalised cases across the three waves and between 40% and 44% of deaths.

The analysis aimed to identify what factors increased or decreased the risk of Covid-19 transmission and found that a higher quantity of beds in a home was linked to a higher risk of Covid-19 cases and outbreaks.

HIQA and the HPSC defined an outbreak as two or more cases occurring at the same time in a home.

As well as vaccination as a measure decreasing transmission, it was observed that homes that had dealt with an outbreak in the past would have an average 50% less cases in subsequent outbreaks.

The average length of outbreaks fell noticeably during the pandemic, from 67 days in the first wave to 59 days in the second wave and 53 days in the third wave.

However, two nursing homes were significant outliers from this average and were shown to have outbreaks lasting for over six months.

The analysis also noted the level of socioeconomic deprivation in the electoral areas of each home and found that homes in the most deprived areas were slightly less likely to have an outbreak of Covid-19.

Death Toll

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the number of people who have died from Covid-19 in Europe, the long-time epicentre of the pandemic, has passed two million, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today.

“A devastating milestone has passed as reported confirmed Covid-19 deaths from countries in the WHO European Region have exceeded more than two million people,” the UN health agency said in a statement.

The WHO’s European region comprises 53 countries and regions, including several in central Asia.

According to the health body, 2,002,058 people have died from Covid out of the 218,225,294 registered cases in the region.

The United States, the world’s worst affected country, has lost more than one million people.

Meanwhile, after a resurgence in the first two weeks of March, the number of infections is falling in Europe.

The number of new cases and deaths have declined by 26 percent and 24 percent in the last seven days.

More than two years after the first restrictions, most European countries have eased their restrictions intended to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.


With reporting by AFP 

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