Ex-master of Coombe Hospital seeks inquiry over Covid vaccine row

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A former master of the Coombe Hospital in Dublin has called for an inquiry into the issue of the maternity hospital having administered Covid-19 vaccines to 16 family members of staff.

The board of directors of the Coombe hospital met on Monday evening to discuss controversy.

The relatives were not frontline healthcare workers, and nine of the group were over 70 years of age. Two of the recipients are understood to be children of Prof Michael O’Connell, master of the Coombe hospital.

A former master at the hospital, Prof Chris Fitzpatrick, called for an independent investigation into the matter.

Prof Fitzpatrick, a consultant obstetrician at the Coombe, said he was “deeply concerned” to learn non-frontline relatives of staff had received vaccines.

“It is essential that the public receive greater reassurance, and that the rollout of a lifesaving vaccination programme during this very difficult time is conducted with transparency, equity and accountability, and in accordance with national guidelines,” he said. There needed to be an independent investigation “undertaken quickly to clarify the facts”, he added.

Regret

Prof O’Connell apologised on Sunday and said he regretted that relatives of hospital employees received the vaccine from doses left over on January 8th, after more than 1,100 doses were given to frontline staff, GPs and local community health workers.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly spoke to the chairwoman of the Coombe hospital’s board, Mary Donovan, about the controversy on Monday afternoon.



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