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Half the staff of Zurich nursing homes snub COVID jabs

Published on May 09, 2021

Only 52% of the staff in nursing homes in the canton of Zurich have been vaccinated, even though the pandemic took a heavy toll on elder care homes.

In an interview with the NZZ am Sonntag, the co-leader of the canton’s vaccination campaign, Gabriela Bieri called the numbers “disappointing”.

Strikingly, when superiors have themselves been vaccinated, the rate was higher.

Bieri gave no fundamental reason for the low rate of staff vaccination in old age and nursing homes but noted that it had been a big challenge to counter vaccine skepticism with facts.

In contrast, doctors were on board with inoculation. Of the 40 working in the municipal geriatric services, only one turned down the vaccine. Pregnant female doctors also skipped the shot.

A vaccination rate of over 80% was achieved among nursing home residents in Zurich. But that alone may not enough to protect them.

“We have indications that the vaccination is partially ineffective in the seriously ill and the very old,” says Bieri. “So we have to continue to be careful.”