Healthcare workers are kept scheduled for vaccinations they no longer require, resulting in hundreds of appointments going to waste. According to reports, some have complained over feeling powerless to cancel the slots, as they spend up to two hours on a call that goes unanswered.
The HSE confirmed that 1,329 healthcare workers were due to attend appointments at Dublin’s Citywest vaccination centre yesterday, with only 757 attending. Adding to this, an independent review detailed some disgraceful findings from the Coombe Woman and Infants Hospital, leaving confidence in the rollout in shambles.
The review found a consultant at the hospital to have taken home two doses of vaccine, sharing amongst family members. It has been confirmed that 16 relatives of hospital staff received the leftover doses on January 8th, when the rollout first began.
The report also confirms Michael O’Connell, a Professor in RCSI and Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist in the Coombe, was found to have kept vaccine doses for his children. The review found a consultant had leftover vaccine in a diluted vial, which was taken off hospital campus to give to family members. The consultant stated they did not recall seeing a segment in the training video indicating it is not possible to transport open vials.
The report comes amid ongoing concerns surrounding the rollout of vaccines, with the Government scaling back commitments to administer 1 million doses this month. This flawed system of scheduling appointments has resulted in people being registered for more than one category, receiving many appointments that go to waste.
Appointments have been tricky to cancel
The Irish Examiner spoke to a number of healthcare workers who have received their vaccine and had subsequently been registered for more. A Dublin pharmacist who received the vaccine in Northern Ireland was then given four separate appointments at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. The number which sends appointments out via text message cannot be replied to, resulting in frustration for people trying to cancel.
The pharmacist claims to have attempted to cancel or, get a name change for a colleague to avail of the slot. Spending over two hours on the phone, the pharmacist was left without managing to speak to anyone, despite calling many different numbers. Many have pointed to the system being used by the HSE to schedule appointments as “not fit for purpose”.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said there “will be issues” when ramping up the rollout programme, although it is really important “that those issues are responded to quickly when we go to scale”.
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.”
You can check out the rollout system for vaccinations here and get ready to book your appointment, when your time comes. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has strongly criticised the “unacceptably slow” rollout of coronavirus vaccines across Europe with many vaccination campaigns hit by delays as infections rise.