Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has called for an investigation into an error by the Belfast Trust, which resulted in community and voluntary groups being offered the COVID vaccination ahead of some frontline workers.
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has apologised for the mistake, which saw organisations in the arts sector, community groups, counselling and childcare offered the vaccine in a letter from the Trust to groups in the community and voluntary sector.
“The Department of Health has said since the start of the vaccination programme JCVI guidance would not be deviated from, for fear it could jeopardise Northern Ireland’s participation in the four-nation programme,” said South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw.
“I am deeply frustrated on behalf of people who have been shielding for the last year, carers who are living in fear of bringing the virus home to their loved ones, and those who have been waiting for almost 12 months for a meaningful visit to a care home. If there was any spare capacity, it should have been offered to these groups first.
“The guidance, as has been presented to the public, is based on clinical vulnerability and those working with them within health and social care settings. If the vaccination programme prioritises client-facing professions, workers, such as those in retail and transport, will rightly be questioning why they are not included.
“It is not those who have mistakenly received the vaccination who need to be held accountable, but Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. An apology is not enough, and we need a full investigation around whose decision it was to open up the programme in such a fashion.”