Covid cluster found among 11 vaccinated pensioners in French care home

Vaccinated people can still catch and transmit the virus a French health authority has warned

6 April 2021
An older man wearing a mask. Covid cluster found among 11 vaccinated pensioners in French care homeVaccinated people should continue to use barrier measures to protect themselves and others
By Joanna York

Eleven residents in an elderly care home in east France have tested positive for Covid-19 after most of them had been vaccinated against the virus.

None of the 11 is seriously ill but three have been hospitalised as a precaution as they have other illnesses.

This comes as the Grand Est regional health authority (ARS) has said that vaccinated people can still catch the virus, and transmit it to others.

Three hospitalised as a precaution

In the Résidence Le Ried home in Marckolsheim (Bas-Rhin), 73 of the 93 residents had been vaccinated when the cluster was identified. Of the 11 that have been reinfected, eight were fully vaccinated.

The other three –  who have been hospitalised as a precaution – include two people who were not vaccinated and one who had received one dose of the vaccine.

A similar incident was reported in a care home in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, where 15 residents and eight staff members tested positive for Covid-19 on March 23.

Most of the infected people had received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine at the Léon Dubédat de Biscarrosse home in Landes.

The Nouvelle-Aquitaine ARS said, despite being vaccinated, they had caught the UK variant of the virus which had been brought into the home by a visitor. 

Vaccines protect but reinfection possible

The Grand Est ARS has since warned that it is still possible to catch the virus after vaccination. 

The three available vaccines in France – Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca – are most effective at preventing serious forms of the virus as they reduce the viral charge and the likelihood of contamination. 

However they do not fully protect people against catching Covid-19 and becoming mildly ill or asymptomatic – and possibly transmitting the virus to others.

Pfizer reported that its vaccine was 100% effective against severe forms of the virus but 91.3% effective against general forms after two doses.

Moderna found its vaccine to be 94.5% effective after two doses. 

AstraZeneca found its vaccine was 100% effective against severe forms of the virus but 76% effective against general forms after two doses, rising to 85% in adults aged 65 or more.

As none of the vaccines offers complete protection against infection the ARS said vaccinated people must continue to wear masks and use other barrier measures to protect themselves and others.

This comes as French courts ruled last week that vaccinated people must also continue to follow lockdown rules.   

Figures from April 4 show that 9,296,131 people have received a first dose of the vaccine in France, of which 3,109,768 people have received two doses.

There are 52 million adults aged 18 and over who are eligible for the vaccine in France. 

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