A meeting of the Rotunda Hospital’s board in early September heard of “increased” Covid-19 infection rates among staff who had completed the primary vaccination schedule. The meeting heard this “may be due to significant decline in antibody rate with time”. The issue was also discussed at the hospital’s board meeting in early October.
The announcement of a ‘booster’ dose of the Covid-19 vaccine for healthcare staff was made by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly on 1 November. Announcing the news on Twitter, Minister Donnelly said he had received the recommendation from the national immunisation advisory committee (NIAC) that evening. For several weeks prior to the announcement, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) had urged provision of the booster
dose for healthcare staff.
On 19 October, responding to reports that NIAC had not yet recommended a booster dose for healthcare workers, the INMO called on the Government to include healthcare workers in its plans for an “immediate roll-out of the booster vaccination programme, as a health and safety imperative”. The union stated that over the course of the previous month, the number of infections among healthcare workers had increased, with nurses and midwives representing the highest cohort of those infected.
Asked about the level of breakthrough infection noted in staff, a Rotunda spokesperson said this information was not available. In regard to take-up of the primary schedule and booster dose among staff, the spokesperson said “very good uptake, but this is being processed through CVC (Covid vaccination centres) therefore [we] do not have access to
Board meeting minutes reported that the staff uptake was 98 per cent as of early September.
The hospital’s approach regarding unvaccinated staff was referral to occupational health, risk assessment, and redeployment to “non-frontline” services.
The spokesperson added that the vaccination rate among pregnant women attending the Rotunda had increased and stood at 55 per cent fully vaccinated as of early December.