Vaccines offered protection from COVID-19 outbreak at Kentucky nursing home

Add this to the increasing evidence that coronavirus vaccines work:

A COVID-19 outbreak at a Kentucky nursing home was caused by a single unvaccinated employee, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, but the residents and employees who were vaccinated were much better protected.

The virus was introduced from a single employee who was unvaccinated and symptomatic.

The outbreak was linked to dozens of infections in both employees and residents, including in 22 residents and workers who had already been vaccinated.

In total, 46 COVID-19 cases were identified; 26 residents, where 18 were fully vaccinated, and 20 health care personnel, where four were vaccinated.

The good news: The outbreak involved the R.1 variant, which could make vaccines less effective. It occurred in a nursing home, a congregate setting full of the people most vulnerable to COVID infection. And the vaccines worked. Attack rates were three to four times as high among unvaccinated residents and employees as among those who were vaccinated, and the vaccinated staff and residents were significantly less likely to experience symptoms or require hospitalization.

Staff need to be vaccinated: According to CDC, 90 percent of the 83 residents were vaccinated, but only half of the 116 staff were at the time of the outbreak in March. Low acceptance of vaccination among nursing home workers has been a challenge nationwide, and could increase the likelihood of COVID-19 introduction and transmission within a facility.