Misc 14/01/2021

Health Department censors vaccination of Riudoms mayor with leftover doses: "It's not ethical"

Argimon admits the protocol doesn't detail whether the care home has acted correctly but says it's "not the best example"

2 min
Recreació d'una dosis de la vacuna del coronavirus

BarcelonaThe mayor of Riudoms (Tarragona), Sergi Pedret (JxCat), and a local councillor were immunised using the remaining doses of the Pfizer vaccine sent to a care home in the village, L'Onada de Riudoms, as Tarragona Digital advanced and ARA has confirmed. The care homes defends its performance during the vaccination campaign, arguing that the guidelines of the Health Department requires it to take full advantage of all doses. Those that are not used should be thrown away and this is why the management claims it asked permission to use the remainder to vaccinate other people linked to the care home.

"I am not the one to judge, but [the mayor and the councillor] should have declined the offer. It is not ethical to get vaccinated if you are a public official and you are not over 70," said the secretary of Public Health, Jose Maria Argimon, on Thursday. The Health Department says that "the fact of taking advantage of the leftover doses of a vial is a department guideline", since the current context of vaccine shortage means it is necessary to avoid throwing away doses and to vaccinate as quickly and fluently as possible. "And I know that other possibilities have been analysed before," he said, "but this is not the best example".

The territorial health services in Tarragona confirm that the management of the center called the head of vaccination of the health region to agree on who should be given the extra vaccines and that he was instructed to administer to "staff linked" to the residence, such as external service personnel who go to the center daily. They did not suggest "under any circumstances", they say, that they vaccinate the mayor and a councillor.

The residence admits that they tried to vaccinate healthcare workers, which the Health Department also confirms, but that the health staff declined because it was their turn to receive the dose the next day. So he thought of the mayor, as well as the village priest - who declined the offer - as they are regulars at the centre for meetings to monitor epidemiological developments.

In this sense, Argimon has admitted that the vaccination protocol does not detail whether the behaviour of the residence was appropriate, since he understands that "there is not the same flexibility to reorganise a vaccination with excess doses in a hospital as in a residence".

The case comes after three nurses vaccinated their relatives instead of the users of a residence in Terres de l'Ebre. The Catalan Institute of Health (ICS) has preventively removed them from the job and has opened a sanctioning file for "having invited" their relatives to receive the doses outside the Health programme.