A MEDICAL practice in Castletownbere described the rollout of the vaccination programme in Ireland to this newspaper as an ‘omnishambles’ last month.
Fans of the excellent satirical political TV series The Thick of It will know the word, which originated there, best describes a situation that is seen as shambolic from every angle.
The deeper we delve into our vaccine programme, the more appropriate that word seems.
The Beacon Hospital’s ‘own goal’ of inviting teachers from a private school to avail of its vaccine surplus, while ignoring its own on-site patients, seemed naïve at best, and incredibly arrogant at worst. But it wasn’t the first time that vaccines have ‘gone astray’ in this country.
The government needs to toughen up on its protocols for excess stocks.
The Beacon debacle also revealed a number of double bookings for vaccine appointments in Dublin last week. And a poor communication system did not allow confused recipients who had been given two appointments to make contact with the HSE to clarify the situation.
Add to that the anger caused by the latest change which sees an age criteria now being used for prioritisation, following on from the bizarre situation with the quarantine system which saw three people abscond from their hotel accommodation last week. And what was even more infuriating, was the ‘passing of the buck’ for security at the hotel between the Department of Health, the Defence Forces, the gardaí, and back again.
The HSE needs to start to get all its vaccine ducks in a row. That includes strict protocols for surplus vaccines, consequences for breaches of them, a transparent distribution process and a robust quarantine system.