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jab scandal Letter from St Gerard’s School claims Beacon hospital chief 'had HSE permission' to vaccinate teachers

HSE Chief Paul Reid said on Sunday that he immediately flagged the vaccinations as a “clear breach”

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Michael Cullen

Michael Cullen

Michael Cullen

Beacon Hospital CEO Michael Cullen told the Junior Principal at St Gerard’s school in Bray that the vaccination of teachers at short notice “had HSE permission”, according to a new letter from the Chairman of board at St Gerard’s, John Behan.

In the letter sent to teachers and parents, Mr Behan said the Principal of the Junior School was “assured” on the call to Mr Cullen that the “use of vaccines in this manner, which would otherwise go to waste, was appropriate and had HSE permission”.

Mr Behan said that no person “acting on behalf of the school sought early access to vaccines”, and that “unsolicited contact” from Beacon CEO Michael Cullen resulted in the teachers being vaccinated.

Mr Behan said that St Gerard’s were initially offered five vaccines at short notice but this number then grew to 15 and then 20 “after further doses had been identified” as surplus.

“The Principal of the Junior School, who received this contact, was assured on this call - and subsequently - that the use of vaccines in this manner, which would otherwise go to waste, was appropriate and had HSE permission. The need for urgency was emphasised,” Mr Behan said in his letter this afternoon.

“Over the following 45 minutes, a further text and phone call were received from the Hospital to explain that first an additional five and, then (at 5pm) a further 10 doses had been identified bringing the number of doses which would go to waste, if not used within the next hour, to 20,” Mr Behan said.

Mr Behan said that while the administration of vaccines is a “matter of great sensitivity”, the board are satisfied that “the individuals in the school who dealt with this matter and those who received the vaccines did so in good faith, having had a number of assurances that using the vaccines in this manner in order to avoid waste had HSE permission”.

“The fact that the board of the Beacon hospital has now confirmed that the decision to offer the vaccines ‘was not in line with the sequencing guidelines in place from the HSE’ is deeply concerning,” Mr Behan said.

The board of the Beacon Hospital have said an independent review will be conducted following the administration of 20 vaccines to the teachers.

HSE Chief Paul Reid said on Sunday that he immediately flagged the vaccinations as a “clear breach” of the vaccination programme’s sequencing document, once the Beacon informed the HSE of the matter on Thursday evening.

The HSE and the Beacon Hospital did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The board apologised for the school’s involvement in the incident and said it would work to “rebuild trust and will ensure that no incident like this can happen again”.

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