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Canaday DH, Oyebanji OA, White EM, Bosch J, Nugent C, Vishnepolskiy I, Abul Y, Didion EM, Paxitzis A, Sundheimer N, Ragavapuram V, Wilk D, Keresztesy D, Cao Y, St Denis K, McConeghy KW, McDonald LC, Jernigan JA, Mylonakis E, Wilson BM, King CL, Balazs AB, Gravenstein S. SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Responses to the Ancestral SARS-CoV-2 Strain and Omicron BA.1 and BA.4/BA.5 Variants in Nursing Home Residents After Receipt of Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccine - Ohio and Rhode Island, September-November 2022. Mmwr. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2023 Jan 27; 72(4):100-106.
Introduction of monovalent COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in late 2020 helped to mitigate disproportionate COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality in U.S. nursing homes (1); however, reduced effectiveness of monovalent vaccines during the period of Omicron variant predominance led to recommendations for booster doses with bivalent COVID-19 mRNA vaccines that include an Omicron BA.4/BA.5 spike protein component to broaden immune response and improve vaccine effectiveness against circulating Omicron variants (2). Recent studies suggest that bivalent booster doses provide substantial additional protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19-associated disease among immunocompetent adults who previously received only monovalent vaccines (3).* The immunologic response after receipt of bivalent boosters among nursing home residents, who often mount poor immunologic responses to vaccines, remains unknown. Serial testing of anti-spike protein antibody binding and neutralizing antibody titers in serum collected from 233 long-stay nursing home residents from the time of their primary vaccination series and including any subsequent booster doses, including the bivalent vaccine, was performed. The bivalent COVID-19 mRNA vaccine substantially increased anti-spike and neutralizing antibody titers against Omicron sublineages, including BA.1 and BA.4/BA.5, irrespective of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection or previous receipt of 1 or 2 booster doses. These data, in combination with evidence of low uptake of bivalent booster vaccination among residents and staff members in nursing homes (4), support the recommendation that nursing home residents and staff members receive a bivalent COVID-19 booster dose to reduce associated morbidity and mortality (2).