Two family members of staff in the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin received leftover Covid-19 vaccines that the maternity hospital said it feared would be wasted otherwise.
In a statement to The Irish Times, the hospital said it received its first batch of 93 vials of Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on January 6th, and was approved to administer six doses from each vial.
“The Rotunda confirms that every one of these six doses were administered to staff working at the Rotunda,” a hospital spokesman said.
However, an excess of vaccine was left over after the approved six doses were administered from each vial. The hospital took the decision to administer these excess doses to non-hospital staff, such as local General Practitioners, and people in vulnerable categories. This included some relatives of employees.
“At the end of the first day of administration of the vaccine, the Rotunda’s dedicated vaccine administration team noted a small amount of vaccine remnants in a number of vials that had been reconstituted, following administration of the approved number of six doses per vial,” the spokesman said.
“These remnants would have expired within a number of hours, if not used and would have been discarded,” he said.
The Rotunda said that to avoid wasting the doses, following discussion with the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) it put out a call to local General Practitioners and others seeking people who wished to receive the vaccine.
The hospital said 37 people, including GPs and “members of other vulnerable groups” received the excess vaccine doses. The Irish Times reports that there were two relatives of staff members among the cohort of people in vulnerable categories who received the vaccine.
“The Rotunda is of the view, and is supported by NIAC, that this was the morally correct thing to do and a wholly appropriate response in the setting of a pandemic, such that no vaccine was wasted and the maximum good was achieved,” the spokesman said.
The master of the Coombe maternity hospital in Dublin apologised on Sunday after it emerged it gave Covid-19 vaccines to 16 family members of staff.