January 14, 2021
Hospitals must adhere to commitment to prioritise vaccines for frontline staff – David Cullinane TD and Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD and spokesperson on Workers’ Rights Louise O’Reilly TD have said that reports that senior hospital staff members who do not treat patients have been given Covid-19 vaccines ahead of medical and healthcare workers is a source of great frustration for those working on the frontline.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“As the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination continues, it is important that the Vaccination Allocation Sequencing, approved by government and issued by the HSE, in the ‘National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme’ is adhered to.

“The prioritisation list states that frontline healthcare workers in direct patient contact roles are to be to the forefront of the vaccination programme.

“It is therefore worrying to hear from healthcare workers in some of our hospitals that there is no uniform approach to vaccinating. 

“This has led to non-frontline staff receiving vaccines before medical and healthcare staff working directly with patients on the wards.

“One reason given for that happening is that hospitals do not want to see any vaccine allocation wasted.

“Nobody wants to see that, but that should not lead to staff not working on the frontline appearing to skip the queue to receive the vaccine ahead of those who do and need it most.

“That has understandably caused great frustration for frontline staff.”

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“If there is a risk of vaccination waste, it is frontline workers who must be fast-tracked to ensure that does not happen – not senior staff who have little or no contact with patients.

“Vaccines are at a premium right now and hospitals cannot just give the jab to who they wish. There needs to be a uniform approach for very clear and obvious public health and workers’ rights reasons.

“Frontline workers are at risk and it is imperative that hospitals adhere to the Vaccination Allocation Sequencing laid out in the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme.

“This is not about pitting workers against each other, this is about ensuring that those staff who are most at risk of contracting the virus due to their frontline role are prioritised.”

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