Immun Inflamm Dis 10 (9) e679 [2022-09-00; online 2022-08-31]
Long-term care facilities (LTCF) residents are at high risk for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and therefore, COVID-19 vaccinations were prioritized for residents and personnel in Finland at the beginning of 2021. We investigated COVID-19 outbreaks in two LTCFs, where residents were once or twice vaccinated. After the outbreaks we measured immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 spike glycoprotein, neutralizing antibody (NAb) titers, and cell-mediated immunity markers from residents and healthcare workers (HCWs). In LTFC-1, the outbreak was caused by an Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) and the attack rate (AR) among once vaccinated residents was 23%. In LTCF-2 the outbreak was caused by a Beta variant (B.1.351). Its AR was 47% although all residents had received their second dose 1 month before the outbreak. We observed that vaccination had induced lower IgG concentrations, NAb titers and cell-mediated immune responses in residents compared to HCWs. Only 1/8 residents had NAb to the Beta variant after two vaccine doses. The vaccinated elderly remain susceptible to breakthrough infections caused by Alpha and Beta variants. The weaker vaccine response in the elderly needs to be addressed in vaccination protocols, while new variants capable of evading vaccine-induced immunity continue to emerge.