Vaccines and priorities


Sir, – As a consultant, former master, and a Covid-19 peer vaccinator in the Coombe Hospital, I was deeply concerned to learn, five days after the event, that “leftover vaccines” had been given late on January 8th to relatives of staff, including young family members of the master, Prof Michael O’Connell. The incident was subsequently reported in The Irish Times on January 18th. On learning about this, my immediate response was to request the chair of the hospital board to be notified, as well as the HSE, and also, importantly, that an independent investigation be undertaken quickly to clarify the facts. Notwithstanding the apology given by Prof O’Connell, it is essential that the public receive greater reassurance, and that the rollout of a life-saving vaccination programme during this very difficult time is conducted with transparency, equity and accountability, and in accordance with national guidelines. – Yours, etc,


Consultant Obstetrician

and Gynaecologist,

Coombe Women and Infants

University Hospital,

Dublin 8.

A chara, – Vaccines administered to any person – be they a relative of hospital staff or not – are preferable to vaccines discarded. – Is mise,



Sir, – Ill-judged as they may be, the actions of senior staff at the Coombe should go some way to showing vaccine sceptics that medical professionals are fully confident in the product’s safety. – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.

Sir, – Is it just me, or does the term “vaccine rollout” have a dawdling ring to it?

Time to inject some much-needed urgency into this with round-the-clock, targeted inoculation. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir,– As the public endures the worst effects of a third Covid-19 lockdown, vaccination represents the light at the end of the tunnel. However, the lack of a transparent vaccination rollout plan and related communications is upsetting and dispiriting for many people. The public require simple factual answers to the questions who, when, and where. Clarity around these questions, from one of the many national committees, would be very reassuring during this lockdown. – Yours, etc,


Professor Emeritus,

Royal College of Surgeons

in Ireland,

Dublin 2.

Sir, – I heard on the news recently that a 101-year-old woman in a Limerick nursing home got the vaccine, which is good news.

My mother, who will be 102 in April and who is living at home, will have to wait for at least six weeks to get vaccinated. In the meantime, she has to have carers visiting twice a day during the week and family members present over the weekend.

My point is that all people over the age of 95, whether in care homes or living at home, should be at the top of the list for vaccination. – Yours, etc,



Co Wexford,

Sir, – There appears to be a marked reluctance by either the Department of Health or Nphet to inform the general public of the numbers of people who have received their first doses of the vaccine. This is in stark contrast with the daily litany of figures related to case numbers, deaths, and such like. Is it a case of being embarrassed by the slow rollout of the vaccine and the increasing anger of the public? Surely we deserve to be informed? Any shred of positivity would be most welcome at this stage. – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.

A chara, – The vaccines appear to herald the end phase of all this Covid awfulness. I suggest we call this phase, “The Road to Demask Us”. – Is mise,