Risk of dying from covid falls by over 95% in nursing homes after vaccination with Pfizer
Receiving both doses also reduces between 88% and 95% of infections according to a pioneering Catalan study
BarcelonaBoth doses of the Pfizer vaccination have been administer to 92.3% of nursing home residents and the effects observed in these first immunised environments, which were the hardest hit during the first wave, are encouraging. Vaccination prevents between 88% and 95% of new infections, but, above all, it saves lives: the administration of the two doses spaced 21 days apart provides 95% protection against the risk of hospitalisation and death from covid-19. This is the result of a study based on the follow-up of 28,594 residents, 26,238 workers in nursing homes and 61,951 health professionals vaccinated up to March 5. The main author of the analysis, the first statewide study to confirm the effectiveness of Pfizer, is the Generalitat's deputy director general of Health Promotion, Carmen Cabezas
The study excluded a total of 10,420 residents, 3,991 workers in nursing homes and 12,919 health professionals who had previously been infected with covid. Of the 28,594 residents included in the study, 2,405 became infected after vaccination, most in the first 12 days after the first dose, when the body has not yet generated enough antibodies. Of the total number of residents, 383 were hospitalised and 409 eventually died.
The analysis - partly funded by the UK's National Health System - shows that a single dose from Pfizer reduces the risk of infection among people living in care homes by 42% and that giving two doses reduces the number of positive cases by 88%. Among those who have received both injections, the risk of hospitalisation plummets by 97%; the risk of death by 98%. The researchers warn, however, that despite this modest protection, alternative protective measures must be maintained, especially during the first two weeks after vaccination.
Professionals are also more protected
The pattern is repeated among health and social care workers, where 32% and 35% of positives are reduced with a single dose, respectively. With the two vaccines, infections among health professionals fell by 95% and among nursing home staff by 92%. The study data indicate that of the 26,238 geriatric workers' cases which were analysed, 1,584 were infected, 35 entered a hospital and none of them died. Of the 61,951 health professionals included in the study, 2,672 tested positive, 76 were hospitalized and one died.
According to the study, vaccination is associated with an 85% to 96% reduction in infection in all three groups. The results are valid for a maximum of two months, as this is how long the follow-up has been taking place, and while researchers admit that more data on the long-term effects of the vaccines are needed, they also stress that the results "should reassure the population about the major benefits associated with the ongoing vaccination campaign in Spain and elsewhere".
The study has been published in the scientific journal The Lancet and is the first study in the world on the clinical efficacy of Pfizer's vaccine in nursing homes. Along with Cabezas, it is signed by, among others, the professor of the Statistical Centre in Medicine at the University of Oxford, Daniel Prieto-Alhambra, and Catalonia's Secretary of Public Health, Josep Maria Argimon.