Digital Desk Staff

Hundreds of Covid-19 vaccine appointments are going to waste as healthcare workers are being scheduled for jabs they no longer need and cannot cancel.

As the Irish Examiner reports, 1,329 healthcare workers were scheduled for jabs yesterday at Dublin’s Citywest vaccination centre, but only 757 attended, the HSE has confirmed.

In a further blow to confidence in the rollout programme, an independent review has found that a consultant at the Coombe Woman and Infants Hospital took two doses of vaccine home to give to family members.

It was confirmed that 16 relatives of hospital staff, including children of hospital master professor Michael O’Connell, received the vaccine when there were leftover doses on January 8, as the first stages of the vaccine rollout were getting underway.

The review found a consultant had leftover vaccine in a diluted vial and took it off the hospital campus to give to family.

The consultant did not recall a segment in a training video indicating transporting open vials is not possible, the review found.

The report comes amid ongoing concerns surrounding the rollout of vaccines, with the Government scaling back commitments to administer 1 million doses this month.

Flaws in the system

Flaws in the system of scheduling frontline workers for jabs means people can often be eligible under more than one category or registered in more than one place, getting several appointments which are then wasted.

One pharmacist working in Dublin received the vaccine in Northern Ireland, but was later given four separate appointments at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.

The number which sends out the appointment text messages cannot be replied to.

The pharmacist then spent over two hours attempting to cancel the appointment or have the name changed in order for a colleague to avail of the slot, without managing to speak to anyone despite calling many numbers.

A HSE spokesperson said: “Issues arose because of the work underway across separate teams to finish the residue of Cohort 2 applicants. Work has now been undertaken to ensure that this does not reoccur.

“Where enquires were received people were told to accept the most convenient one. No vaccine was wasted as a result of this small number of double appointments.

“The HSE apologies for any inconvenience caused.”

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