HSE CEO 'extremely annoyed' that Beacon Hospital gave vaccines to teachers


Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

08.52 26 Mar 2021


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HSE CEO Paul Reid says he's "extremely annoyed and frustrated" after the Beacon Hospital gave vaccines to private school teachers.

According to the Irish Daily Mail, the Dublin hospital gave "leftover vaccines" to 20 teachers and staff from St Gerard's Catholic School in Bray.

The paper reports children of the CEO of the Beacon attend the fee-paying school.

The private hospital is currently being used as a hub to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers.

In a statement, the Beacon has confirmed there were spare doses that had to be used at short notice, and some were given to teachers.

The hospital's CEO has "sincerely apologised for the upset that this decision has caused".

On Newstalk Breakfast, the HSE's Paul Reid says hospitals and other facilities have had very clear guidelines since January about how to use leftover vaccine doses.

HSE CEO 'extremely annoyed' that Beacon Hospital gave vaccines to teachers

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He said: "There’s actually no ambiguity about how backup lists should be identified and prioritised.

“We do want them to have backup lists as we don’t want vials wasted. But we do expect all services to stick with our prioritisation and sequencing."

He said cases such as the Beacon one are "beyond frustration" given the guidelines in place.

He said: “I’m extremely annoyed and frustrated… I cannot condone [it]. It does frustrate the public.

“The vial certainly has to be used if they’re open... we all get that.

"But even the preparation for the day does need prioritisation on who you might have on standby… and there are plenty of options, legitimately, around what can be done next.

"I don't believe the case of what happened... can be a legitimate rationale when there are other cohorts that could have been prioritised."

Beacon response

In a statement, the Beacon confirmed leftover AstraZeneca vaccines were available on Tuesday evening due to around 200 HSE staff being double-booked for vaccination appointments.

While a majority of those doses were given to HSE staff, around 20 doses were given to teachers.

The hospital says this was down to limitations to who the AstraZeneca jab could be administered to, as well as the "exceptionally" short time timeframe involved before the vaccine went to waste.

Beacon CEO Michael Cullen said: “I recognise that the decision that was made was not in line with the sequencing guidelines in place from the HSE however it was made under time pressure and with a view to ensuring that the vaccine did not go to waste.

"I sincerely apologise for the upset that this decision has caused and we are updating our approach to our back up list to ensure that this situation does not arise again.”

Earlier, Sinn Féin Wicklow TD John Brady says an investigation needs to be launched 'immediately' to find out what exactly happened in this case.

He said: "We need to establish who made the decision... why the decision was made to give the vaccine to teachers in a private school."

Wicklow Social Democrat TD Jennifer Whitmore described the case as 'so very wrong'.

Main image: File photo of HSE CEO Paul Reid. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

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