Two family members of staff at Rotunda Hospital received Covid-19 vaccine

A total of 37 people received the vaccine from remnants of vials delivered to the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin which were intended for its staff
Two family members of staff at Rotunda Hospital received Covid-19 vaccine

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Two family members of staff at the Rotunda Hospital received Covid-19 vaccines which it says would have been wasted otherwise.

It comes after a similar controversy at the Coombe Hospital, where 16 family members of staff at the maternity hospital received the Coronavirus vaccine.

A total of 37 people received the vaccine from remnants of vials delivered to the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin which were intended for its staff.

In a statement on Monday, the Rotunda Hospital said it received 93 vials of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Wednesday, January 6.

Each vial contains six doses, and the statement said “every one of these six doses were administered to staff working at the Rotunda”.

However, excess doses of the vaccine left in the vials were subsequently administered to the community.

The statement said: “These remnants would have expired within a number of hours, if not used, and would have been discarded.

“Rather than wasting any vaccine whatsoever, and following immediate discussion with leadership at the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), the Rotunda requested expressions of interest from the local community, who could attend the hospital within an hour, prior to expiry of these vaccines, and who would be willing to accept these unapproved vaccine remnants.

“Thirty-seven people, including local GPs and members of other vulnerable groups, agreed to attend and to avail of the non-approved vaccine remnants.

“The Rotunda is of the view, and is supported by NIAC, that this was the morally correct thing to do and a wholly appropriate response in the setting of a pandemic, such that no vaccine was wasted and the maximum good was achieved.”

It is understood that two family members of staff at the hospital were among those in the vulnerable groups who received the excess doses.

The statement added: “It must be noted that even if Rotunda staff could attend at short notice to receive the vaccine remnants, the hospital was not approved to administer it to them.

“Equally, the 37 non-Rotunda personnel who received the vaccines did so in the full knowledge they were receiving a non-approved vaccine remnant.”

Earlier on Monday, the health minister asked bosses at the Coombe hospital in Dublin for a “full account”, after it emerged that Covid-19 vaccinations were given to family members of staff.

The relatives of employees at the south Dublin hospital were vaccinated with doses left over from a batch.

Stephen Donnelly said he will speak to the chairman of the Coombe Hospital board about the matter.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said 16 doses of the vaccine were left after 1,100 frontline workers, including GPs and community health staff, were vaccinated.

The hospital said that of the 16 recipients, nine were over 70 and the other seven were of varying ages.

The hospital said the doses would have been thrown out if they had not been administered.

In a statement on Monday morning, Mr Donnelly said: “I was made aware on Sunday night of a situation with regard to the administration of vaccines on Friday January 8, at the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin.

“Trust in the vaccine programme is of critical importance and what happened should not have happened.

“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.”

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