A QUIN man, who has terminal cancer, is to receive his Covid-19 vaccination on Friday and has urged the government do all it can to avoid any repeat of the Beacon Hospital row.
John Wall spoke out on the national airwaves over the weekend, following revelations that left-over vaccine doses were administered by the private hospital to some of the staff of a fee-paying school in Wicklow. “I didn’t expect the item to get the time or traction that it did on the Saturday show with Katie Hannon,” said Mr Wall who has stage four prostate cancer. “To be able to put questions and react to the comments of a junior minister was a real, real bonus in terms of highlighting the frustration and anger of those who in Cohort 4 and in 4A, who are really seriously ill, and who cannot get clarity on when or where they will get a vaccine.”
Mr Wall said the Beacon story left him “frustrated and disappointed, but unfortunately not surprised”. “I had heard many stories of queue-jumping,” he said. Responding to Minister Stephen Donnelly’s decision to remove the Beacon from the list of organisations involved in the national vaccination programme, Mr Wall said the measure was appropriate. “My first concern was that this would not delay the vaccine even further for those who need it, but everyone who has been given appointments to-date will be vaccinated there,” he said. “From the point of view of the governance of the vaccination programme, there has be consequences for anyone who doesn’t follow the guidelines. It’s not the first time facilities have had left-over vaccines, there is a protocol in place.”
Mr Wall said that he was contacted on Tuesday by the Health Service Executive (HSE) after confusion arose over his inclusion on the list of medically vulnerable priority patients. “It was clarified that the HSE is handling those in my cohort and I’ve been called to the Radisson in Limerick for a Friday evening appointment,” he said. “It’s very much welcome, but I have to stress that I don’t want special treatment, I’m not looking for that. That wouldn’t sit well with me. I want the system to treat everyone who is at high risk in a fair way. I have heard that the system in place at the centre in Limerick is safe, swift and ultra-efficient and credit has to be given where it is due.”
In relation to the controversy in the wake of the Taoiseach’s announcement that the programme will progress by age, once the vulnerable are vaccinated, John said he had sympathy for groups like teachers. “This change means that many will find themselves down the pecking order,” he said. “Teachers are an easy cohort to identify. They’re dealing with a lot of people in confined spaces on a daily basis. I do think consideration could be given to vaccinating them sooner.”
Mr Wall also appealed to the government to resume cancer screen and vaccination against HPV. “Covid is not the only C,” he said. “We urgently need services to resume.”
It emerged over the weekend that Dublin’s Beacon Hospital was left with 20 left-over vaccine doses after an error in the booking system lead to a number of people not turning up for their appointments. The hospital board has apologised for the handling of the doses and announced an independent review headed up by Eugene McCague former managing partner and chairman of Arthur Cox.