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Vaccine row Hospital decision to give vaccines to private school teachers incorrect but 'in good faith', review finds

The revelations in March caused uproar at a time when the HSE roll out to the most vulnerable groups was suffering shortages

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Beacon Hospital pictured in Sandyford Co Dublin Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Beacon Hospital pictured in Sandyford Co Dublin Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Beacon Hospital pictured in Sandyford Co Dublin Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

An independent review of the decision by the Beacon Hospital in Dublin to give Covid-19 vaccines to twenty teachers of a private school has found it was incorrect but “made in good faith.”

The revelations in March caused uproar at a time when the HSE roll out to the most vulnerable groups was suffering shortages.

The vaccines were given to teachers at St Gerard’s School in Bray.

It led to calls for the resignation of Beacon Hospital chief Michael Cullen one of whose children attends the school.

In a statement today the board of the Beacon said it retained faith in Mr Cullen.

The review found that efforts should have been made to offer the surplus vaccines to healthcare workers and the hospital was wrong in believing it had discretion around the use of the surplus vaccines.

In a statement today the board of the hospital said the independent review by Eugene McCague found that, “notwithstanding the matter regarding the use of 20 surplus vaccine doses on March 23, the Vaccination Clinic was operated to the highest standards of corporate and clinical governance and that, at no cost to the State, more than 9,000 public health care workers were vaccinated in an efficient and effective manner.

“The Board of the Beacon Hospital is proud of the work undertaken, on a voluntary basis, by the staff at Beacon Hospital and of the contribution that this work and the use of the vaccination clinic has made to the overall public health system.

“In addition to a review of all aspects of the operation of the Vaccination Clinic, a detailed analysis of the Clinic that took place on March 23 was completed. The Board considered the specific findings in relation to the decision to offer vaccinations to 20 teachers at a school in Bray and all matters that led up to this decision.

“This analysis finds that there were a series of events that took place on that day which led to the point where there were 20 excess doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine that were at risk of going to waste.

“The Board has considered this series of events, the decision making that brought this issue to the attention of the CEO and his rationale for offering the vaccines to the teachers.

“As per the Review’s findings, the Board acknowledges that the decision was not in line with National Vaccine priority list and did not have HSE approval.

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“The Review also finds that there was an incorrect interpretation of the discretion available to Beacon Hospital to make decisions that would avoid any vaccine doses going to waste. The Board also acknowledge, as per the Review’s findings, that notwithstanding the lateness in the day, the HSE cohort CHO6 should have been asked to provide health care workers even if there was no expectation that this would have been possible given the time of day.

The Board has considered all the facts that led to the situation arising - including the decisions that were made by clinical and operational staff overseeing the Clinic that day, the high volume of ‘no shows,’ and the information re: potential vaccine wastage that was shared with the CEO after the last scheduled appointments of the day.

“Having considered these facts, the Board accepts the view of the Independent Reviewer that while the basis on which the decision was made to contact the school was incorrect, it was made in good faith.

“We as a Board, regret that this series of events happened, and apologise for the upset caused. However, having considered the detailed Review and the Findings of the Independent Reviewer, the Board has determined that it retains full confidence in Mr Cullen, our CEO.

“Michael has provided the hospital with strong leadership and vision resulting in substantial growth and expansion of patient services. We are confident that Beacon Hospital will continue to provide exceptional patient care into the future under his guidance.”

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