COVID-19 Vaccines Shown to Have Desired Effect in Nursing Homes, Early Results Show

The vaccine is working, especially in places where it is needed the most, according to a new study.

“The vaccine is associated with decreased spread of SARS-CoV-2 in both residents and staff at nursing homes as well as decreased deaths among residents,” the study, published last week in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, concluded.

The results show that the COVID-19 vaccine could and maybe should lead to reevaluating nursing home visitation policies in the near future.


Last month, the federal government updated its guidance for nursing home visitations, calling on facilities to allow responsible indoor visitation at all times and for all residents regardless of vaccination status.

The news came nearly a year to the day after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services shut down most non-emergency visits to nursing homes last March.

The new study – authored by researchers with the Center for Health Policy and Evaluation in Long-Term Care, American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living’s research division – analyzed COVID-19 data from over 2,500 nursing homes that held vaccine clinics in 17 states throughout the country.


The nursing homes reviewed were shown to experience reduced COVID-19 spread among both residents and staff as well as a decline in deaths among residents after they held their first vaccination clinic.

“This data is extremely encouraging and shows that the vaccines are working,” Center for Health Policy and Evaluation senior research analyst and lead author of the study Marsida Doma said in an AHCA/NCAL press release.

The decline rate was especially apparent for nursing home residents and staff after a buffer period of up to six weeks.

Following the first COVID-19 vaccine clinic in nursing homes, new resident cases and deaths from the virus and cases among the staff were associated with delayed vaccine effect when controlling for other factors like time.

Other factors were associated with decline in cases and deaths, including the size of the facility, ethinc and racial census in the facility, and the level of registered nurses.

The data supports changing guidance on visitations, dining, and activities in long-term care settings as well as on testing of healthcare workers based on vaccination status, according to the researchers.

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