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20 of 26 COVID-positive residents in a Kentucky nursing home outbreak were fully vaccinated a month earlier

A CDC report blames an unvaccinated healthcare worker for an outbreak; data compares a population of four unvaccinated elderly residents to the rest of the group.
Wed Apr 28, 2021 - 9:47 pm EST
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St. Walburg Monastery community St. Walburg Monastery / website

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April 28, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Nearly half of the 46 people who tested positive for COVID-19 in a Kentucky nursing facility in March had been fully vaccinated against the virus more than four weeks earlier, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last week.

Twenty of the 26 COVID-positive residents and four of 18 COVID-positive healthcare personnel had received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech two-shot coronavirus vaccine at on-site clinics January 10 and 31, a full month before the outbreak on March 1, making them “breakthrough” vaccinated cases of COVID.

Two additional COVID-positive residents who had been fully vaccinated eight days before the outbreak were excluded from the CDC’s analysis. 

When the outbreak occurred, 79 of 83 nursing home residents had been fully vaccinated, including more than 90 percent who had received both Pfizer doses a month earlier. CDC experts insist the vaccine should be fully effective two weeks after vaccination.
Among staff, 61 of 116 (52.6 percent) received both shots a month before the outbreak and another five had received their second injections at a clinic in February.  

Data from four unvaccinated residents

No healthcare workers, vaccinated or unvaccinated, were hospitalized or died. 

Three residents died. One was fully vaccinated. Two were not, according to the CDC. 

These would have been two of only four residents of 83 in the facility who chose not to be vaccinated and there is no indication from the CDC why they declined to be vaccinated. 

The CDC report acknowledges that “the health status of residents who declined vaccination might have differed from those who consented to vaccination.” In other words, they may have been extremely ill or frail or in palliative condition near death, although the report does not describe their condition.

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Based on the data of four unvaccinated individuals of unknown condition, the researchers led by Alyson Cavanaugh of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service concluded that unvaccinated residents had three times higher rates of infection as those who were vaccinated residents (75 percent vs. 25.4 percent). 

5,800 ‘breakthrough cases’

The other 22 cases would have been counted among the 5,800 American “breakthrough” cases of coronavirus among fully vaccinated individuals reported to the CDC up until April 13, including 74 deaths. 

The CDC report did not identify the nursing home in the state of Kentucky where the outbreak occurred in March. In February, in an apparently separate incident, three nuns at St. Walburg convent in Kentucky died and 28 were infected though they had recently received a first dose of coronavirus vaccine. 

Prior infection?

“It is a good bet that most, if not all, of the sisters of St. Walburg have been naturally infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus — AND that they were infected at around the time of their first vaccination,” Pennsylvania immunologist Hooman Noorchashm wrote in an open letter to the Sisters of St. Walberg after the incident, imploring them to be tested for infection before taking a second dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

“It is my opinion as a physician and immunologist that persons with recent or occult SARS-CoV-2 infections may be at risk of harm from indiscriminate COVID-19 vaccination — especially the elderly and frail with cardiovascular disease,” he said.

Noorchashm suggested that the sisters first have their blood tested for the presence of IgG antibodies and to perform another PCR assay for the virus immediately before any planned vaccination.

“If you are positive for either of these tests, it is my recommendation that you delay your second shots for a minimum of 6–8 months,” he said, though the sisters were scheduled to have their second shots in May.

If blood tests revealed any nuns to have had a recent natural infection, then they would already “almost certainly” be immune and vaccinating those with recent or current natural infections would risk reactivating, or activating, a “potentially deadly inflammatory response in their bodies,” he said.

The CDC report did not consider the possibility of the vaccination campaigns having activated a dormant infection.

Symptomatic index case

The CDC report blames an unvaccinated, symptomatic healthcare worker at the facility for the outbreak and used the incident to highlight the “imperative” that all healthcare personnel, as well as nursing home residents, receive experimental coronavirus vaccines. The vaccines have only been given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Some media followed with reports that an unvaccinated worker had set off a coronavirus outbreak, “killing 3 residents.”

The CDC report did not explain how a symptomatic healthcare worker was on duty at the facility where it said personnel were screened daily for the coronavirus beginning a year earlier in March 2020 and have undergone twice-weekly SARS-COV2 testing since November 2020. It also did not explain how that person was identified as the “index case” when other vaccinated and unvaccinated workers were infected.

“Despite the overall numbers that occurred during this outbreak, vaccination was associated with a lower risk of being infected, lower risk of developing symptomatic disease, and lower risk of hospitalization and death,” Melissa Brower, a public affairs specialist at the CDC, said in an e-mailed statement. “In fact, vaccination was 86.5 percent and 87.1 percent effective against symptomatic COVID-19 in residents and healthcare personnel, respectively.”

The report estimated vaccine effectiveness against coronavirus infection among residents was 66 percent and among healthcare workers, who had a larger proportion of unvaccinated individuals, was 75 percent.

The researchers acknowledged that its calculation of “hospitalization and death outcomes might be biased” because of the lack of controlling for underlying health conditions.


  cdc, centers for disease control, coronavirus vaccines, covid-19, emergency use authorization, kentucky, nuns, nursing facility, pfizer-biontech, sarscov2, st. walburg, vaccine deaths

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