In Kentucky, an unvaccinated health care worker was the source of a COVID-19 outbreak that infected dozens at a nursing home, as reported by the Baltimore Sun. The majority of the nursing home’s residents had been vaccinated prior to the outbreak; however, the same cannot be said for the staff.
Unvaccinated Workers Put Vaccinated Residents at Risk
It is important to note that the COVID-19 vaccines are not 100% effective. That is why it is so vital that everyone who can get vaccinated does get vaccinated, not only to protect themselves but to protect others.
During the outbreak in Kentucky, a total of 26 nursing home residents were infected, 18 of whom were fully vaccinated. Twenty health care workers were also infected, only 4 of whom were fully vaccinated. Fortunately, out of the 22 fully vaccinated employees and residents infected, most did not develop any symptoms or need to be hospitalized. The fatalities comprised two unvaccinated residents and one vaccinated resident.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study on the outbreak, putting this data into a more digestible form: 90% of the Kentucky home’s 83 residents were vaccinated, but only 50% of the 116 workers were vaccinated. The CDC also reported that, in this case study, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine showed an effectiveness of:
- 66% for nursing home residents
- 75.9% for nursing home employees
Overall, the Pfizer vaccine was found to be 86% to 87% effective at protecting both residents and employees against symptomatic COVID-19 infection. These numbers are a huge success, especially considering how the outbreak at the Kentucky nursing home involved a variant of the virus — one with a mutated spike protein. Variants with these mutations have been found to reduce a vaccine’s efficacy. The sad truth is, however, that this outbreak likely could have been prevented had more workers been vaccinated.
As the CDC study reads, “To protect skilled nursing facility residents, it is imperative that health care providers, as well as skilled nursing facility residents, be vaccinated.”
Can Nursing Homes Be Held Accountable for COVID-19 Outbreaks?
At Brown & Barron, we are fighting to win justice for individuals who have been infected by COVID-19 due to nursing home negligence. While the courts have yet to lay out how Baltimore residents may hold nursing home management and staff liable for preventable COVID-19 outbreaks, there is still legal recourse available. Our skilled trial lawyers are advocating for the rights of these injured individuals in Baltimore and throughout the state of Maryland.
To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact Brown & Barron’s Baltimore attorneys online or at (410) 698-1717 for a free consultation.