Hospital board of directors 'jumped' vaccine queue
Three members of the board of directors of the Robert Schuman hospitals reportedly jumped the vaccination queue amid the slow rollout of vaccines in Luxembourg, with the hospital group justifying the move due to allegedly unclear national guidelines.
Experts are warning that the slow vaccination rate in Europe, including in Luxembourg, is creating added risk as further mutations could arise that are more resistant to vaccines.
Three members of the board of directors of Hôpitaux Robert Schuman were vaccinated at the beginning of the campaign, which started in December last year, public broadcaster 100,7 reported on Tuesday, despite official guidelines indicating that such individuals would only be eligible in the second phase.
The second phase of the national vaccination campaign, targeting vulnerable people and those above the age of 75, is set to kick off on 22 February.
In a statement to radio 100,7 on Tuesday, Marc Glesener, spokesperson for the hospital group, said that at the beginning of the campaign, there was a lack clarity on the guidelines, which only arrived three weeks after the hospital had drawn up a list of 3,200 people to be vaccinated.
"The initial order was to protect the hospital," he said. “With this in mind, at the beginning of the vaccination campaign we made a list of 3,200 people who need to be protected. This included primarily the staff, but also employees of partners and suppliers," Glesener added.
Glesener also said that the three members of the board were key workers and regularly in contact with patients in the Kirchberg hospital and the ZithaKlinik hospital not far from Luxembourg City's central train station.
Other board members who only attend meetings twice a year still have to wait for the vaccine, Glesener said.
As there are not enough doses available to vaccinate everyone, Luxembourg has devised a six-step plan which defines groups according to professions, age groups and vulnerabilities.
The hospital group is confident that all of its staff will have been vaccinated by the end of March. According to Glesener, there is currently a participation rate of 66% among staff, which is higher than the rate recorded in the vaccination centre in Limpertsberg.
By the end of March, the government hopes to have inoculated around 42,000 people in the country, less then a tenth of Luxembourg's population, although that number does not include those who will receive the new AstraZeneca vaccine, which the European Medicines Agency only approved on January 29 amid uncertainties around deliveries.