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Care home staff urged to get Covid booster jabs

Care home staff are being urged to get a booster jab after a new study found they significantly reduce the risk of severe Covid-19 infections in residents.

The Vivaldi study by the University of Birmingham and UCL investigated the immune responses of staff and residents in long-term care homes who received a Pfizer booster vaccine.

The results show up to a 12.3-fold increase in antibody response in residents without prior infection following their booster, reducing their risk of severe Covid infections.

The study assessed the original Covid-19 strain and the Delta variant.

Data published by the UK Health Security Agency shows vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic infection is substantially reduced against Omicron with just two doses over time, but a third dose boosts protection back up to over 70 per cent.

The Department of Health and Social Care said 99 per cent of older-adult care homes have now been visited to offer booster vaccinations to residents and staff.

The final one per cent will be visited by 24 December subject to no further Covid outbreak within those care homes.

However, uptake is only around a third among care home staff.

“Our fantastic social care workforce have shown time and time again during this pandemic the lengths they will go to deliver high-quality care in the most challenging circumstances – showing true dedication and professionalism – and I can’t thank them enough for all their hard work,” said care minister Gillian Keegan.

“We are calling on them to step up once again to come forward and protect themselves and those around them by getting boosted now, giving those they care for maximum protection over the winter,” she added.

Where operationally viable, NHS England has requested vaccination centres offer priority access for frontline staff.

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