The impact of the Covid-19 vaccination programme was “pronounced and positive” in nursing homes, a new analysis has found.
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) have published an update to their analysis of factors associated with outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 in HIQA-registered nursing homes, to include the third wave of Covid-19 in Ireland.
Both organisations have acknowledged that residents of long-term facilities, such as nursing homes, “have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19”.
“They have been impacted through incidence, morbidity, mortality and public health measures such as visit restrictions,” they noted.
According to HIQA’s chief scientist, Dr Conor Teljeur, there were more outbreaks in the third wave than during the first two waves combined, “but fewer nursing homes had more than one outbreak”.
An outbreak is defined as two or more linked cases.
“The impact of vaccination rollout 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,” Dr Teljeur noted.
The rollout of the second dose of the vaccine was particularly associated with a reducing probability of an outbreak occurring and a decreasing extent of an outbreak if it did occur.
The analysis found that many of the factors linked with outbreaks in the third wave remained the same as those for the first and second waves.
“The likelihood of outbreaks in nursing homes was still associated with higher community incidence of Covid-19, the number of beds in a nursing home and being in close proximity to other nursing homes,” Dr Teljeur said.
However, the probability of an outbreak was reduced in homes that had experienced previous outbreaks.
“It is encouraging to see the positive impact of the vaccination programme on nursing home outbreaks during wave 3 of the Covid-19 pandemic. This highlights the value of a comprehensive vaccination programme to augment non-pharmaceutical measures in limiting the impact of Covid-19 on nursing homes,” commented HPSC specialist in public health medicine, Dr Lois O’Connor.
The full analysis can be viewed here.