Nurses in a major maternity hospital have been delayed in getting the Covid-19 vaccine while management in their hospital group got the jab.
Frontline staff in the second largest maternity hospital outside Dublin had their scheduled vaccines cancelled last week. However, management, administration and even maintenance staff in their hospital group were vaccinated the week before.
Staff in another smaller hospital in the same area had to go public on national media to beg to be vaccinated last week.
Nurses at the University Maternity Hospital, Limerick (UMHL), where 5,000 babies are delivered a year, are now highly anxious about the delay.
UMHL is part of the University Hospital Limerick (UHL) group, but is based in a different location in the city.
The vaccines for frontline staff in the mid-west region are being handled by the main hospital, UHL. In the first week of January, the hospital confirmed “a number of maintenance staff and management/administration staff were vaccinated”.
"However we are satisfied that most of the administrative staff who have received the vaccine to date are patient-facing and in the priority group (e.g. ward clerks, receptionists, nurse management). They also include staff who are in management/admin positions and who, by virtue of their clinical background, have been trained up as peer vaccinators and are currently vaccinating healthcare colleagues and nursing home residents across the Mid-West,” a spokesperson said.
The hospital group did not say how many of this cohort were not frontline staff meeting patients. However, vaccines for some of the staff at the maternity hospital were cancelled last Monday and Tuesday because of the late delivery of vaccines. That resulted in 50 staff not getting the jab. Only half of the staff at the maternity hospital have received the vaccine.
Last week, medical staff at Nenagh Hospital in Co Tipperary, which is also part of the UHL group, made a video pleading to be vaccinated as they are dealing with so many Covid-19 patients.
The UHL group also says it “welcomes” the guidance from the HSE on the sequencing of vaccination of frontline health workers.
HSE chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry said every effort should be made to ensure the vaccine is given to frontline workers “rather than to people later in the sequence who work in the institution that hosts the vaccination centre”.
The vaccines being delivered this week are being prioritised for nursing home residents and staff, and no clinics are going to the maternity hospital staff.