Infections, Hospitalizations and Deaths Among U.S. Nursing Home Residents With and Without a SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Booster

A SARS-CoV-2 vaccine booster dose has been recommended for all nursing home residents; however, data on the effectiveness of an mRNA vaccine booster in preventing infection, hospitalization, and death in this vulnerable population are lacking. McConeghy, et al. (2022) sought to evaluate the association between receipt of a SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine booster and prevention of infection, hospitalization, or death among nursing home residents.

This cohort study emulated sequentially nested target trials for vaccination using data from two large multi-state U.S. nursing home systems: Genesis HealthCare, a community nursing home operator (system 1) and Veterans Health Administration community living centers (VHA CLCs; system 2). The cohort included long-term (≥100 days) nursing home residents (10 949 residents from 202 community nursing homes and 4321 residents from 128 VHA CLCs) who completed a two-dose series of an mRNA vaccine (either BNT162b2 [Pfizer-BioNTech] or mRNA-1273 [Moderna]) and were eligible for a booster dose between September 22 and November 30, 2021. Residents were followed up until March 8, 2022.

Test-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, hospitalization, or death was followed up to 12 weeks after booster vaccination. The primary measure of estimated vaccine effectiveness was the ratio of cumulative incidences in the boosted group vs the unboosted group at week 12, adjusted with inverse probability weights for treatment and censoring.

System 1 included 202 community nursing homes; among 8332 boosted residents (5325 [63.9%] female; 6685 [80.2%] White) vs 10 886 unboosted residents (6865 [63.1%] female; 8651 [79.5%] White), the median age was 78 (IQR, 68-87) years vs 78 (IQR, 68-86) years. System 2 included 128 VHA CLCs; among 3289 boosted residents (3157 [96.0%] male; 1950 [59.3%] White) vs 4317 unboosted residents (4151 [96.2%] male; 2434 [56.4%] White), the median age was 74 (IQR, 70-80) vs 74 (IQR, 69-80) years. Booster vaccination was associated with reductions in SARS-CoV-2 infections of 37.7% (95% CI, 25.4%-44.2%) in system 1 and 57.7% (95% CI, 43.5%-67.8%) in system 2. For hospitalization, reductions of 74.4% (95% CI, 44.6%-86.2%) in system 1 and 64.1% (95% CI, 41.3%-76.0%) in system 2 were observed. Estimated vaccine effectiveness for death associated with SARS-CoV-2 was 87.9% (95% CI, 75.9%-93.9%) in system 1; however, although a reduction in death was observed in system 2 (46.6%; 95% CI, −34.6% to 94.8%), this reduction was not statistically significant. A total of 45 SARS-CoV-2–associated deaths occurred in system 1 and 18 deaths occurred in system 2. For the combined end point of SARS-CoV-2–associated hospitalization or death, boosted residents in system 1 had an 80.3% (95% CI, 65.7%-88.5%) reduction, and boosted residents in system 2 had a 63.8% (95% CI, 41.4%-76.1%) reduction.

In this study, during a period in which both the Delta and Omicron variants were circulating, SARS-CoV-2 booster vaccination was associated with significant reductions in SARS-CoV-2 infections, hospitalizations, and the combined end point of hospitalization or death among residents of two U.S. nursing home systems. These findings suggest that administration of vaccine boosters to nursing home residents may have an important role in preventing COVID-19–associated morbidity and mortality, the authors say.

Reference: McConeghy KW, et al. Infections, Hospitalizations, and Deaths Among US Nursing Home Residents With vs Without a SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Booster. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(12):e2245417. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.45417