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bad faith HSE boss Paul Reid slams breaches of vaccine portals as "abuse of trust"

Almost 70 employees at Northside Family Resource Centre in Limerick falsely posed as frontline healthcare workers

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HSE chief Paul Reid

HSE chief Paul Reid

HSE chief Paul Reid

HSE chief executive Paul Reid has said taking advantage of the Covid-19 vaccination portal is an “abuse of trust” and added that the system has been strengthened to avoid further similar incidents.

There has been increased concern surrounding incidents in which a number of people currently ineligible for a vaccine have received doses.

This comes after reports by the Irish Mail on Sunday that almost 70 employees at the Northside Family Resource Centre in Limerick falsely posed as frontline healthcare workers on the HSE's vaccination portal.

The paper reports that they were instructed to do so by the centre’s CEO, Ciara Kane.

It follows a separate incident involving the Beacon Hospital in Dublin in which leftover vaccines were offered to teachers and staff of St. Gerard’s School in Bray.

Speaking to Gavan Reilly on Newstalk’s On The Record, chief executive of the HSE Paul Reid said that these breaches of the vaccine queue are “frustrating” and an “abuse of trust.”

“The whole programme of vaccinations in this country, and indeed any country, is based on a high level of trust,” he said.

“It is very frustrating, it’s annoying and it breaches the basic tenet of what the programme is all about when incidents like that happen or other incidents that are high profile which we know have happened.

“These breaches are serious... Ultimately there have been a number of instances and some are going through assessments, some are going through very public reports, some have had reports concluded on them, some are for private organisations to assess and make their own judgements, and we certainly do that through the HSE as well.”

He continued: “It’s just completely wrong for someone who is not at risk or not exposed to healthcare settings to be vaccinated. And there have been some of those instances... It is an abuse of trust.”

Mr Reid added that the HSE are working on improving the vaccination portal for when it opens to the public later this month by ensuring that the validation process is thorough.

He told listeners: “What we’ve had to do is strengthen the validation process for when a person is coming to receive their vaccine that they’re well validated, they are who they are, they are in the category of people that we’re vaccinating on that day and they’re legitimate to be vaccinated.

He said that when the vaccination portal opens to the public, there will be a “different process” in place.

The Taoiseach previously stated that he expects the system to be open from the middle of April.

Mr Reid shared: “As we go public and into more age groups and we start to reach out to the wider population, it is a different process for the portal. It’s where the public will be registering a lot of their biographical details, age, date of birth, and indeed PPS number.

“We’d be validating that and then when the person comes [to get their vaccine], we will be seeking ID... We’re relying on a high level of trust.”

The HSE boss said that the vaccination rollout has worked so far and has huge benefits, adding that Ireland’s millionth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine should be administered in the next few days.

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