Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has called for an investigation after Covid-19 vaccines at the private Beacon Hospital intended for frontline healthcare workers were given to staff at St Gerard’s private school in Bray.
Teachta Brady added that the incident between two private institutions 13 kilometres apart was without justification, and smacked of the well-heeled looking after the well-heeled.
Teachta Brady said:
“A private hospital giving vaccines to a private school smacks of the privileged looking after privilege; the well-heeled and well-connected looking after one another, jumping the queue ahead of those who need vaccines the most.
“Vaccines intended for frontline healthcare workers instead being administered to staff at a private school is a monumental kick in the teeth to the frontline doctors, nurses and other HSE staff who have put their lives on the line to protect us and our loved ones over the past 12 months.
“It is beyond shocking for any hospital or any facility to be distributing the vaccine without adhering to the strict guidelines that have been laid down by the HSE.
“After the scandals of office workers in HSE being vaccinated outside of the prioritisation order, and likewise with family members of staff at the Coombe and Rotunda Hospitals, we were assured that procedures would be put in place to ensure that this would not happen again.
“Well here we are again, except this latest incident is even more insulting to our frontline workers and the most vulnerable in our society, and further underlines the too-often calamitous nature of the vaccine rollout.
“Public confidence in the rollout is fast-eroding. If there is a risk of vaccination waste, it is frontline workers and at-risk groups who must be fast-tracked. There is no justification for staff at a private school skipping the queue to receive so-called ‘excess’ vaccines.
“Is imperative that hospitals adhere to the Vaccination Allocation Sequencing laid out in the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme.
“The rollout of the vaccine has encountered many problems. We still do not have detail on staffing for mass vaccination centres, and there is no plan for preventing further delays to healthcare from redeployments.
“There are persistent problems with deliveries to GPs; missed and late deliveries with no warning, while some GPs still have received little to no vaccines.
“It is unacceptable that vulnerable groups such as family carers are being left behind, and this latest scandal only serves to add insult to injury to those who are at their wits’ end.
“How this was allowed to happen requires investigation; it is imperative that there is transparency and accountability if public confidence in the vaccine rollout is to be restored.”