Why Do We Continue to See COVID-19 Outbreaks in Fully Vaccinated Care Homes? | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Why Do We Continue to See COVID-19 Outbreaks in Fully Vaccinated Care Homes?

SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks involving care homes with fully vaccinated residents have been reported across Germany. In order to gain a better understanding of this phenomenon, a team of researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin used an outbreak at a Berlin-based facility to analyze virus-related data and study the immune responses of elderly residents following vaccination. The researchers’ data, which have been published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, confirm vaccine effectiveness in the elderly. However, they also indicate a delayed and slightly reduced immune response. In light of their findings, the researchers emphasize the need to vaccinate both caregivers and close contacts in order to better protect this high-risk group.

The BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has demonstrated high levels of efficacy. Pre-approval studies revealed the vaccine to be capable of preventing more than 90 percent of symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections just one week after the second dose. The vaccine’s efficacy was later confirmed in observational, population-based studies. This efficacy notwithstanding, infections will occasionally develop in vaccinated individuals. But what might explain the occurrence of larger outbreaks in care homes whose residents have been fully vaccinated? What medical experts had suspected based on past experience with other vaccines has now been confirmed by two linked studies, both of which were conducted by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Charité. These studies showed that the immune system’s response to vaccination is less effective in the elderly than it is in younger individuals.