Coronavirus Ireland: two further deaths and 624 new cases confirmed as Stephen Donnelly suspends vaccine operations at Beacon

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Eoghan Moloney

There have been two further deaths of people with Covid-19 and 624 new cases of the virus confirmed by the National Public Health Emergency Team this evening.

This takes the total number of people who have died with Covid-19 in Ireland to 4,653 while the case count in the State has risen to 233,937.

As of Wednesday, March 24, 732,678 vaccine doses have been administered, of which 529,984 were first doses and 202,694 second doses.

Earlier today, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced that vaccine operations were to be suspended at the Beacon Hospital following on from the revelation that teachers and creche workers received vaccine doses there this week.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin believes the chief executive of the Beacon should be held accountable for his actions as vaccine operations were suspended at the private hospital.

The Taoiseach's spokesperson said: “The vaccines belong to the Irish people.

“There are clear rules and guidelines in relation to their administration. These prioritise the most vulnerable and frontline healthcare workers.

“There are specific rules relating to the allocation of surplus vaccines at the end of a day’s administration. Clearly, these rules and guidelines were broken by The Beacon Hospital.

“What happened was wrong and a breach of trust. Behaviour of this sort undermines confidence in the vaccination programme.

“The CEO should be held accountable for his actions by the board of The Beacon Hospital."

After what Minister Donnelly said was “careful consideration”, he asked for vaccine operations to be suspended at the hospital.

“In addition, I have asked the HSE to appoint a senior official to immediately examine what happened and make recommendations regarding any actions or changes required,” Minister Donnelly said.

"I am also writing to the Board of Beacon Hospital to ask them to conduct a review of what happened including consideration of any appropriate response,” he added.

More to follow..