Nursing home residents do not have an increased risk of death after receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, according to a large new study from the Netherlands. In fact, their mortality risk appears to decrease, investigators found.

Reports of post-vaccination deaths in nursing homes during the Netherlands’ 2021 vaccination campaign prompted the study. Most of the deaths involved residents aged 65 years or older who had one or more comorbidities. Concerns about the reports had a disruptive effect on the first months of the vaccination campaign, according to the researchers, from Amsterdam University Medical Centers in Amsterdam. 

The researchers aimed to investigate any causal links between COVID-19 vaccination and death in the nursing home population. To do so, they evaluated 30-day risk of death after vaccination in more than 21,000 residents from 73 Dutch nursing homes in 2021. Study subjects had received one or two COVID-19 vaccinations between Jan. 13 and April 16.

Results were compared to mortality risk in residents prior to the pandemic in 2019, adjusting for age, gender, comorbidities and length of stay.

Rather than increasing, residents’ risk of death decreased after one COVID-19 vaccination when compared to the 2019 comparison subjects. After two vaccinations, the comparable risk of death decreased even further, reported Karlijn Joling, PhD, and colleagues.

“We found no indication that risk of death in NH residents is increased after COVID-19 vaccination,” the authors wrote.The results show that COVID-19 vaccination is safe for nursing home residents, “and could reduce fear and resistance towards vaccination,” they concluded. 

Full findings were published in JAMDA.

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