Vaccine given to construction workers ahead of frontline staff in Kerry

A number of construction workers received COVID-19 vaccines in a Kerry hospital - ahead of healthcare workers.

Builders working in the University Hospital Kerry received the jab over the weekend, Kerry County Council was told on Monday.

They got the vaccine ahead of psychiactric healthcare workers in the community, as well as residents and patients at a mental health facility in the Munster county.

The hospital confirmed the builders' vaccines.

However, they said this was only after the roll-out of the vaccine to the priority group of frontline staff, per the Irish Examiner.

"These workers are required to work in clinical areas such as ED to carry out some of their work. They would have also be required to carry out their work in areas within the Covid pathway of the hospital," it said.

It comes after a controversial 48 hours, where family members of staff in both the Coombe and the Rotunda Hospital got 'spare' doses administered to them.

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris reacted at a press event yesterday, saying:

There arent spare vaccines in Ireland. We need to get to the bottom of this."

All of the incidents happened before the HSE issued guidance to hospitals on excess or spare doses.

The guidance says if the priority frontline workers aren't available to get the vaccine a standby list of other frontline healthcare workers later in the vaccination sequence should be created.

Recipients should be randomly selected from the lists.

Other healthcare workers should then be given the next priority.

Family members do not feature on that list.

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, has said he will ask for a 'full account' from the Coombe Hospital after the master gave 'spare' COVID-19 vaccinations to family members of employees.

His children were included.

The jabs were given on Friday January 8 and includednine people over the age of 70 and seven others of 'varying age'.