St Michael’s vaccine ‘mess up doesn’t bode well’, says TD

by Rachel Darcy

Only 90 staff out of 400 were vaccinated at a South Dublin hospital last week, after a Covid-19 vaccination snafu saw the hospital allegedly ‘forgotten’ about.

Staff at St Michael’s Hospital in Dun Laoghaire anticipated receiving the Covid-19 vaccination nearly two weeks ago, but vaccines never arrived to the hospital for distribution.

According to reports, vaccines then arrived to the frontline hospital last week for roll out, however only 90 doses were provided for a staff of over 400 – less than a quarter of all frontline staff in the facility.

St Michael’s Hospital currently handles some overspill of Covid-19 patients from St Vincent’s Hospital, with many nurses and doctors now unable to receive a vaccination following the mix up, potentially having to wait another week or longer for immunisation.

Local TD Richard Boyd Barrett (PBP) told Dublin Gazette that the reports he received of the ‘mess up’ in providing vaccines to St Michael’s doesn’t ‘bode well’ for the wider vaccination roll out programme.

TD Boyd Barrett said: “It’s important to stress that Michael’s are actively dealing with Covid cases, as far as I understand, so these really are frontline healthcare workers.

“To make an error of this sort, where vaccines don’t arrive at all when they’re supposed to, and then when they arrive late, there’s less than a quarter of the vaccines that are necessary to vaccinate the staff of the hospital, really shows a shocking level of disorganisation on the part of whoever’s coordinating the vaccine roll out.

TD Richard Boyd Barrett

“This really does not bode well, and seems to suggest a pretty awful level of disorganisation in terms of the coordination of the vaccine roll out, if they can make errors of this scale when we’re talking about frontline healthcare workers who are dealing with Covid-19 cases.”

The Dun Laoghaire TD said he contacted Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly about the situation in St Michael’s, and that Minister Donnelly ‘seemed to be aware’ of what had happened in the hospital.

“[Minister Donnelly] seemed to be aware of it, but really didn’t give me any sort of indication as to what might be done to remedy it, other than to say they were doing their best.

“The other thing I’m quite furious about is, when you look at this major mess up in terms of vaccinating frontline public healthcare workers dealing with Covid at St Michael’s, contrasted with the situation with the Beacon Hospital, a private hospital that is not currently dealing with Covid.

“It just seems really shocking and unacceptable.”

In a statement to Dublin Gazette, Ireland East Hospital Group said: “The Ireland East Hospital Group is working closely with all our hospitals to distribute vaccinations to our staff in line with priority recommendations issued by the Chief Clinical Officer of the HSE.

“Vaccines are distributed in as equitable a manner as possible and as current supplies allow. Logistics surrounding the delivery of vaccines is managed centrally by the HSE.

“In line with the recent decision of Government, the current focus is to vaccinate our most vulnerable elderly patients in nursing homes over the next two weeks, a process that commenced last week.

“All staff within the Ireland East Hospital Group, including St Michael’s, will be vaccinated as and when vaccines become available.”

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