Enables easing of infection control measures
Infection control measures in nursing homes can be a major burden, especially for patients with dementia or in the final stages of life. The purpose of vaccination is therefore not only to reduce mortality, but also to ease the infection control measures and give older people the opportunity to have social contact with their loved ones. The risk of death and long-term effects on function and quality of life will be high in unvaccinated, frail patients, as will the risk of transmitting infection (5).
Although we currently have little knowledge about the efficacy and adverse effects of the vaccine in older and frail people, or whether these aspects vary between the different vaccines, there is reason to believe that the adverse effects will normally be mild and transient, also for this population group.
For patients with a very short life expectancy, vaccination can cause unnecessary discomfort without achieving the desired effect
Based on current knowledge, we therefore believe that the main recommendation should still be to vaccinate the majority of patients in nursing homes. For patients with a very short life expectancy (weeks or a few months), vaccination can cause unnecessary problems without achieving the desired effect, and in such cases the patient should not be vaccinated. In the case of older and frail patients who experience extremely unpleasant or serious adverse effects after the first dose of the vaccine, careful consideration should also be given to whether they should receive the second dose.
Deaths in frail nursing home residents following vaccination should be carefully investigated, and it is our recommendation that geriatric specialists are involved in this process.