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Decision by Beacon Hospital to offer Covid vaccines to teachers ‘made in good faith’

The resolution by the Beacon Hospital to offer vaccines to academics at a faculty in Co Wicklow earlier this yr was incorrect however was made in good religion, a report commissioned by the board of the power has discovered.

The assessment discovered that the choice was made by Beacon’s chief government Michael Cullen alone. However it says that no-one who was conscious of the transfer to supply the vaccines to the 20 academics at St Gerard’s in Bray “raised any reservations in relation to the decision”.

The assessment finds that the Health Service Executive (HSE) had not given permission for surplus vaccines to be supplied to academics.

However the assessment concludes that the choice of Mr Cullen was made “in good faith”.

The report by Eugene McCague, former managing associate and chairman of Arthur Cox, which was commissioned by the board of Beacon, finds that the choice was taken by Mr Cullen “in a time-pressured situation in the mistaken belief that the risk of doses being wasted entitled Beacon to administer the doses to anyone who was available, other than patients”.

The report says this was primarily based on his understanding that individuals apart from healthcare employees together with academics, had been referred for vaccination to the vaccination clinic by the HSE’s group healthcare organisations and an incorrect interpretation of the extent of the discretion permitted within the official tips for the sequencing preparations to use for the administration of the vaccines.

“While the basis on which Mr Cullen made his decision was incorrect, I am satisfied that he made the decision in good faith,” the McCague report maintains.

“The decision to vaccinate the Bray teachers was taken by Mr Cullen alone. No-one else participated in, or contributed to, the decision. The decision was taken by Mr Cullen quickly, without consultation, and was communicated to the Bray teachers through the principal of the junior school while Mr Cullen was at home and before he returned to the vaccination clinic (at Beacon).”

The report means that Mr Cullen in proof to the assessment had maintained that his motivation in providing the vaccines to the Bray academics was to keep away from the excess Covid-19 vaccine doses on the day in query on March twenty third being wasted .

However the assessment says Mr Cullen’s resolution was not in compliance with the HSE’s vaccine precedence checklist.

“Teachers have been categorised in precedence group 11 on the vaccine precedence checklist (precedence group 10 following the amendments to the vaccine precedence checklist on 4 March). It follows that Mr Cullen’s resolution was not in compliance with the vaccine precedence checklist.

“The only circumstance in which Mr Cullen and Beacon could have complied with both the requirement of the sequencing guidelines that no dose be wasted and the terms of the vaccine priority list was if they had succeeded in identifying and vaccinating a further 20 healthcare workers at very short notice in addition to the 42 HCWs who were identified and vaccinated.”

The report signifies that Mr Cullen instructed the varsity in Bray that the vaccines might be supplied with the permission of the HSE.

“The use of the phrase ‘HSE permission’ in the message from Mr Cullen to the principal was unfortunate in that it may have inferred that HSE was aware of the decision and approved of it. This was not the case. I am satisfied that what Mr Cullen intended by the phrase was that, as he believed at the time, it was in line with the HSE requirement that no doses should be wasted and that HSE supported earlier decisions to vaccinate other categories of what he viewed as frontline workers to avoid wasting vaccines. Contrary to what Mr Cullen believed and consequently represented to the Bray Teachers, the decision did not have HSE permission.”

The report says that in precept the vaccination of employees working in crèches was additionally not in accordance with the HSE’s vaccine precedence checklist.

However it says “a distinction might be drawn within the case of the Beacon crèche on the premise that it (1) is a part of the built-in Beacon campus and (2) gives the important service of childcare to frontline healthcare employees.

“The decision to vaccinate the first nine staff members from the Beacon crèche was made having regard to the zero wastage policy referenced in the Sequencing Guidelines and the fact that the Beacon crèche is part of the Beacon campus.”

It says “Beacon informed HSE of the fact that staff from the Beacon crèche had been vaccinated and HSE raised no issue with it”.


The board stated that consistent with the discovering of the the assessment it commissioned, it acknowledged that the choice to supply the vaccines to the academics, “ was not in line with national vaccine priority list and did not have HSE approval”.

The board stated on Monday it regretted that the incident occurred however having thought of the assessment it had decided it retained full confidence in Mr Cullen.

“The assessment additionally finds that there was an incorrect interpretation of the discretion obtainable to Beacon Hospital to make choices that will keep away from any vaccine doses going to waste.

“The Board also acknowledge, as per the Review’s findings, that notwithstanding the lateness in the day, the HSE cohort CHO6 should have been asked to provide health care workers even if there was no expectation that this would have been possible given the time of day,” it stated.

“The Board has thought of all of the details that led to the scenario arising – together with the selections that have been made by scientific and operational employees overseeing the clinic that day, the excessive quantity of ‘no shows,’ and the knowledge re: potential vaccine wastage that was shared with the CEO after the final scheduled appointments of the day.

“Having considered these facts, the Board accepts the view of the Independent Reviewer that while the basis on which the decision was made to contact the school was incorrect, it was made in good faith.”

The faculty confronted criticism after it emerged that 20 of its employees members obtained Covid-19 vaccines on the Beacon hospital.

In a subsequent letter to folks from the varsity board, it stated it “sincerely apologised” for its function within the vaccination controversy.

However, it stated no individual appearing on behalf of the varsity sought early entry to vaccines.

The faculty stated it had been approached by the chief government officer of the Beacon Hospital and was assured that utilizing the vaccines as a way to keep away from waste had HSE permission.

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