Approximately 100 Gardaí based in Clare and Limerick on “standby lists” received surplus COVID-19 vaccines leading to unrest in the force and anger from vulnerable medical patients.
Vaccines were offered to Gardaí in line with national guidance on cohorts and sequencing, a spokesperson for UL Hospitals Group outlined. This will not impact the planned roll-out for individuals with underlying medical conditions, the spokesperson said.
UL Hospitals Group are responsible for the Limerick vaccination centre which is the Radisson Blu Hotel located in Meelick, Co Clare. The story was first reported by The Irish Daily Mirror.
Fifteen of the Gardaí to be administered the surplus vaccines are stationed in Co Clare, Clare FM have reported. Some of the officers were contacted a day in advance of getting the jab.
A spokesperson for UL Hospitals Group outlined, “Gardai, who are considered frontline workers and work closely with our services, are listed on the standby lists, which come into play at the end of a vaccination clinic when there are doses of the vaccine leftover from that day’s timetable”.
An Garda Síochána has confirmed that where offers are made by bodies such as the Health Service Executive (HSE “that members of the Garda Siochana may accept those offers”.
Quin based health advocate, John Wall admitted he was “fuming” with the revelation. He criticised UL Hospitals Group for what they considered to be an “appropriate” decision. “The same hospital that made me fight to get a vaccine, were at the very same time doing this. There are tens of thousands of medically vulnerable people begging to be vaccinated”.
He labelled the actions as a “shocking abuse” of the trust place in individuals tasked with the vaccine roll-out. John stated, “The mis-management of our rollout programme is of a monumental scale”. He said the HSE management tiers were “overseeing one of the most blatantly crooked attempts at providing a public service, that I’ve ever witnessed”.
Unrest is brewing among units of the Gardaí as a result, BreakingNews.ie have reported. Gardaí at one station in the Mid-West recently aired concerns that colleagues from another station in the same county had been administered the vaccine.
President of the Garda Representative Association, Frank Thornton, said on Thursday evening “the Government has made a balls” of the vaccine rollout programme, which recently saw Gardaí lose prioritisation for the vaccine due to their profession.