VHI CEO steps aside while Board investigates after he received vaccine at Beacon

Insurer investigated after senior executive receiving care for serious illness was vaccinated at hospital

John O’Dwyer, the chief executive of VHI, who received a Covid-19 vaccine at the Beacon Hospital. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

John O’Dwyer, the chief executive of VHI, who received a Covid-19 vaccine at the Beacon Hospital. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

The chief executive of the VHI has stepped aside from his position while the Board investigates “to establish the facts” after he received a Covid-19 vaccine at the Beacon Hospital.

In a statement released on Tuesday evening, the VHI said its Board learned on Tuesday morning that John O’Dwyer had received a vaccination at the Beacon Hospital.

“The Board is aware, and with Mr O’Dwyer’s consent, can now disclose that he has been a patient of the Beacon Hospital and St James’s Hospital for oesophageal cancer,” the statement said.

“The Board is commencing an investigation to establish the facts. While the investigation is ongoing John O’Dwyer has offered to step aside as CEO and the Board has agreed to this. Declan Moran has been appointed Acting CEO.”

In an earlier statement on Tuesday, the VHI had said: “we have been made aware that a senior executive at the company who is receiving care for a serious illness, was vaccinated at the Beacon Hospital”.

“At this point in time we are not commenting any further until we investigate the matter.”

The statement comes after The Irish Daily Mail reported on Tuesday that the VHI’s chief executive John O’Dwyer received a vaccine at the Beacon.

The second statement had been expected from the health insurer on Tuesday afternoon.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly spoke to the VHI chairman Paul O’Flaherty about the matter on Tuesday morning.

Under the national vaccine rollout programme there are four groups of people currently being vaccinated; people aged 65 years and older living in long-term care, frontline healthcare workers, people aged 70 and older living in the community, and finally, in group four, people aged 16 to 69 who, due to illness, are considered at very high risk.