Jack Quann
Jack Quann

06.30 18 Jan 2021


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Health Minister Stephen Donnelly says he is seeking 'a full account' of events, after it emerged the Coombe Hospital in Dublin gave leftover vaccine doses to family members of staff – including two of its Master's children.

In a statement issued on Sunday night, Minister Donnelly said he was made aware of the situation on Friday.

"Trust in the vaccine programme is of critical importance and what happened should not have happened," he said.

"Our vaccine allocation strategy clearly sets out a priority list for vaccination - and that's currently for frontline healthcare workers and residents and staff of our long-term residential care facilities.

"It does not include family members of healthcare workers.

"I will be speaking with the chair of the Coombe Hospital Board for a full account", he added.

health minister Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly speaking to media as he arrives at Government Buildings for an emergency Cabinet meeting on COVID-19 response. Picture by: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The Irish Times reports that 16 leftover doses remained at the end of the Dublin maternity hospital's vaccine clinic on January 8th.

The Master of the Coombe, Professor Michael O'Connell, told the paper he 'deeply regreted' that family members of employees were vaccinated.

But said that had they not been used, they would have been discarded.

Latest figures from the HSE show that there are 1,928 patients in hospital, of which 195 are in ICU.

There were 13 further deaths reported on Sunday, with 2,944 new confirmed cases.

While 77,303 people have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Appeal to work from home

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said on Sunday the situation in hospitals "is stark".

"We are seeing people of all ages being admitted to hospital and being taken into intensive care units," he said.

"The levels of infection are such that your chances of transmitting or getting COVID-19 are very high, and we know that a proportion of those cases will lead to serious illness and mortality."

Dr Holohan added that "there is no group who should feel the public health advice does not apply to them".

"It is only if we act together that we can keep ourselves, our loved ones, and health and social care facilities safe.

"As we look forward to the week ahead, consider your choices and make the right ones."

He also appealed to people not to go into work if they can work from home. "If you are an employer, facilitate remote working for your employees", he said.

Main image: The exterior of the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin is seen in 2012. Picture by: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

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Coombe Hospital Coombe Hospital Board Coronavirus Vaccine Covid-19 Professor Michael O'Connell Stephen Donnelly Vaccine

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