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Two fully vaccinated staff at Dundalk nursing home test positive for Covid-19

Neither staff member are showing symptoms “of any sort” of Covid-19, the nursing home said.

Image: Shutterstock/Kzenon

A NURSING HOME in Co Louth has suspended all indoor visits after two staff members who had been vaccinated against Covid-19 tested positive for the virus.

Dealgan House nursing home said the two cases were detected during routine serial testing at the facility, which is carried out on a fortnightly basis.

In a statement, the home said that both individuals and all residents at the home have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

It also said neither staff member was showing symptoms of the virus “of any sort” and that the had received their second doses of the vaccine in February. 

“We have temporarily suspended visiting pending advice from public health,” the home added.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said today that serial testing of staff in nursing homes is down at 0.11% – the lowest ever since commencing last summer.

Nursing home staff and residents were among the first group to be vaccinated against Covid-19, as part of the 105,000 people in the long-term residential care facilities group.

‘It doesn’t mean the vaccine has failed’

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne programme, virologist Dr Cillian De Gascun said that they had begun to sequence the “small number” of confirmed Covid-19 cases in those who had been fully vaccinated, but said that this wasn’t concerning.

“The vaccine is primarily intended to prevent severe illness, hospitalisation and death,” the director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory and chair of the NPHET Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group said. “It’s not intended to be a sterilising immunity.” 

The way the vaccine works is it primes our immune system, so for our immune system then to fight off the subsequent infection, it needs to see the virus again. So the infection does occur, but it’s typically milder, it’s typically shorter, and the immune system kicks in quickly and clears it.

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“Ideally we want as few people infected as possible. Even if it doesn’t lead people to be hospitalised or admitted to intensive care, it can still cause morbidity and debility in the subsequent months after infection – and people would have heard of long Covid.”

“Just because somebody has been vaccinated and gets an infection, that doesn’t necessarily mean the vaccine has failed, it doesn’t necessarily mean the vaccine hasn’t worked. Because, if they hadn’t been vaccinated, we don’t know what would have happened to them if they got that infection.”

With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha.

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