Hand holding mobile phone with Nursing Homes Ireland news on it

Expedition of Covid19 booster vaccine to nursing home residents must be prioritised

Wednesday August 25, 2021

25th August 2021: NHI has urged Government to expedite the roll out of the Covid19 booster vaccine to nursing home residents and staff, with research alarmingly highlighting protection from the Pfizer vaccine could fall to below 50% for older people by winter. The Zoe Covid study, as reported today, provides the warning and alarmingly notes real world analysis would expect less protection to be offered than that within its clinical trials and the effectiveness of vaccines were not trialled against the now dominant Delta variant. Furthermore, US research published last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned of a decline in the effectiveness of vaccination since the emergence of the Delta variant. NHI commenced engagement in July with Government Ministers, the HSE and the National Immunisation Office regarding requirement for booster vaccination rollout to be expedited for nursing home residents. NHI today states the necessity to propel rollout of the booster vaccination is increasingly compelling. NHI representations have been against a backdrop of a small but concerning rise in the number of Covid19 outbreaks in nursing homes, with the expected peak in the community still anticipated in weeks ahead.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO states:  “There is requirement not to be alarmist, given the excellent levels of protection the Covid19 vaccine has offered to nursing home residents. However, research presents a very serious warning to our health services and for nursing home care. A halving of the protection offered by the Pfizer vaccine coming into the winter period is of considerable alarm, with a headline warning emanating from the study there is urgent requirement to make plans for vaccine boosters. The US research presents vaccine effectiveness diminishes with the Delta variant and warns waning of vaccine immunity will first be observed in nursing home residents, who are most susceptible to the virus.

“Vaccinations were administered at the start of the year for nursing home residents and research presents its level of protection is starting to wane. We have engaged with Ministers, Department officials, the HSE and National Immunisation Office with regard to rollout of the vaccination booster and the research compels the rollout to be a pressing priority for NIAC and Government. Even as NIAC adjudicate, there is requirement for coordinated planning to be underway to ensure efficient and timely rollout of the booster vaccination to nursing home residents once the Committee gives approval. Expedition of rollout of the booster vaccine is necessary to ensure optimal protection is offered to nursing home residents against a virus that continues to spread within our communities. A pressing demand is being presented from nursing homes for such and NHI is in place to support efficient rollout, having led in supporting initial vaccination of 30,000 nursing home residents.”

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO is available for further comment. Media interviews will be facilitated by Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications and Research Executive, who can be contacted at 087 9082970.  

Note for Editor

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be accessed here: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7034e3.htm