A nursing home resident receives a booster shot

Nursing home residents and staff members who receive a COVID-19 booster have increased protection from future infections soon after receiving the additional doses, according to a new study. 

Findings released Wednesday in eBioMedicine show omicron-specific antibody levels reached 86% in nursing home residents and 93% among healthcare workers after they received their first booster shot. Detectable antibody levels reached just 28% among residents and workers that only received the initial two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series. 

The higher antibody levels were found two weeks after the booster. 

“There are tens of millions of community-dwelling older adults similar to the nursing home population but are living at home,” said David Canaday, lead study author and professor at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine. 

“This data shows this group of frail, older adults with similar clinical and functional limitations would benefit immensely from a booster vaccination,” he said in a statement.

The findings come just ahead of the scheduled release Thursday of a new JAMA Internal Medicine study examining what level of protection a fourth dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine affords long-term care residents.

Canaday added that the results of his study show the importance of booster vaccinations for nursing home residents and the general population. 

“Many of these [healthcare] workers are healthy, middle-aged adults similar to the general population,” he added.