Alzheimer's Society responds to news of COVID-19 vaccine reducing infection risk in care homes

The charity reacts to new research on the rate of coronavirus infections in care homes.

Research from University College London (UCL) looking at data from 10,000 care home residents in England with an average age of 86, between December 2020 and mid-March 2021 has shown that a single dose of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine was effective at preventing 56% of infections after four weeks, rising to  62% of infections after five weeks.

The UCL research, which was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, is part of the continuing Vivaldi study, investigating Covid-19 infections in care homes.

The Government’s COVID-19 mental health and wellbeing recovery action plan (published Saturday 27 March 2021) pledges £17m to support recovery of the dementia diagnosis rate and tackle the backlog of appointments.

Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing at Alzheimer’s Society said,

'It is brilliant to hear that one dose of the jab is proving effective in reducing Covid infections in care homes. This news is encouraging, in terms of enabling further meaningful visits.

'People in care homes, 70% of whom have dementia, have spent a year cut off from essential care and contact from those they love the most, leading to heart-breaking isolation and a rapid decline in dementia symptoms, including permanently losing abilities like talking or being able to feed themselves. 
'Across the board we’ve seen shocking levels of deterioration among people with dementia, worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with our support services being used over 3.7 million times.

'We’re relieved to see the Government pledge £17 million to tackle the concerning reduction in diagnosing people with dementia and backlog of appointments, to give them the support they need, but we need recovery plans placing people with dementia at their heart to fully address the longer-term impact of the pandemic.'

How care homes have been affected during the coronavirus pandemic

If you have a family member or friend with dementia who lives in a care home, you will probably have concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19). This guidance will help you support them.

Read our guidance
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