A nursing home resident receives a booster shot
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Long-term care leaders helping residents secure COVID-19 vaccinations may want to ensure their pharmacy provider has Moderna vaccines on hand after a study found that it was better at protecting residents from the omicron variant. 

The findings, which were released by an Ontario-based research team, measured long-term care residents who had a post-vaccine, omicron infection between Dec. 15, 2021, and May 3. More than two-thirds (68%) of those residents had received three Pfizer shots. In comparison, residents’ infection risk decreased by 47% if they had received the Moderna three-shot regimen. 

The study also confirmed that residents with a fourth COVID shot are better protected against the disease and its omicron variant — a finding that’s been confirmed across the globe. Findings showed that infection risk among residents decreased by 81% with any kind of fourth mRNA vaccine dose. 

The McMaster University researchers analyzed data from nearly 1,000 nursing home residents for their study.

“Even with the vaccines, LTC residents can still get sick, and this is so disruptive to the rest of their care, especially with staffing still being a huge challenge,” said Dawn Bowdish, lead study author and professor of medicine at McMaster University, on Tuesday.

She added that the next step in COVID-19 vaccine research is seeing how well they can protect against other sub variants, like BA.5. 

“The best mitigation strategy we have is vaccinating everyone right at the start of a new COVID-19 wave. That way, people have lots of COVID-19 antibodies and infection rates are reduced,” Bowdish noted. “This holds true for both long-term care residents and the general public.”