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Limerick childcare workers express concern at the way they were vaccinated

COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen coronavirus covid-19

A NUMBER of Limerick childcare workers have expressed concern at the manner in which they were vaccinated.

The Irish Mail on Sunday reports that staff at Northside Family Resource Centre in Ballynanty were told to "misrepresent themselves as frontline healthcare workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19".

Up to 70 employees including cleaners, kitchen and administration staff who are working from home were vaccinated, the newspaper reports.

In a letter to staff obtained by the Irish Mail on Sunday, CEO Ciara Kane instructed them to represent themselves as Category 2(e) frontline healthcare workers on the HSE’s vaccination portal. Ms Kane also warned employees not to speak of their inoculation.

Several childcare workers from the centre spoke to the newspaper to express their concern at the way they had been vaccinated.

One said: "We’re horrified. I know people who are seriously ill who should have been vaccinated before us. I have relatives with cancer who are not vaccinated."

Northside Family Resource Centre CEO Ciara Kane defended her decision on vaccinating the staff to the Irish Mail on Sunday.

"Ultimately, I stand over the decision that I had to make in about half an hour. Because that’s all the time you get in situations like this.

"I get that it’s a story. I get it. And I understand the upset because I feel it myself in relation to the vaccination programme but I can stand over those decisions," said Ms Kane.

Responding to the story after being contacted by the Limerick Leader this Easter Sunday, Cllr Conor Sheehan said Northside Family Resource Centre is a charity that has been on the frontline throughout the pandemic.

The Labour councillor said staff have been dealing with vulnerable families in challenging situations along with other family resource centres throughout the Covid crisis.

"It is not a private hospital or a private school, they do work that often requires their staff to enter people’s homes. 

"I think all this finger pointing about who got what vaccines and when is turning into a distraction from the real issue which is the shambolic and incompetent rollout of our vaccination programme," said Cllr Sheehan.

He described it as "a systems failure by the HSE as their online vaccination portal did not properly and robustly check the applicants identity".

"The portal didn’t even need a password and was accessible to anyone who had the link and candidates weren’t even asked for proof of identification when they presented for vaccination. That is the real issue. If the systems are not properly designed with robust checks and balances then you will have issues like this. 

"Like many people I am frustrated by the pace of the vaccine rollout and the revelations about vaccine queue skipping. However, if people are angry or frustrated, they should direct their anger at the HSE and the government for the way they have handled this," said Cllr Sheehan.

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