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VHI CEO to resume role after investigation into him receiving Covid-19 vaccine at Beacon Hospital

The VHI had said in March that its CEO had received treatment for cancer at the Beacon Hospital.

Image: Sasko Lazarov

THE CEO OF VHI is to resume his role after he stepped aside pending an investigation into his receipt of a Covid-19 vaccine at the Beacon Hospital. 

A statement released on 30 March confirmed that the Board of VHI learned that morning that its CEO John O’Dwyer received a Covid-19 vaccine at the Beacon Hospital. 

The VHI Board said that O’Dwyer has been a patient of the Beacon Hospital and St James’s Hospital for oesophageal cancer.

“The Board is commencing an investigation to establish the facts. While the investigation is ongoing John O’Dwyer has offered to step aside as CEO and the Board has agreed to this,” it said. 

Declan Moran was appointed acting CEO in the meantime.

In a statement today, the VHI outlined that its Board appointed Mark Connaughton SC to investigate the circumstances in which O’Dwyer received his vaccination at the hospital. 

“The investigator found no evidence to suggest that Mr O’Dwyer received the vaccine for any reason other than his vulnerability by reason of his medical conditions and recent cancer,” the statement said. 

“Following receipt and consideration of the investigator’s report, the Board has decided that Mr O’Dwyer will resume his role as CEO,” it said. 

“The Board would like to thank Mr O’Dwyer for his cooperation throughout the process and for offering to step aside for the duration of the process and look forward to him returning to the helm of the organisation in the days ahead.” 

The Beacon Hospital had been at the centre of a controversy after it was revealed that private school teachers and creche workers were vaccinated out of step with the Government’s vaccine priority list.

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The Irish Daily Mail first reported on 26 March that the Beacon Hospital gave surplus Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines to 20 teachers at a private school in Co Wicklow on Tuesday 23 March. The paper also reported that the children of the Beacon’s CEO, Michael Cullen, attend that school – St Gerard’s in Bray.

In a statement 26 March, the Beacon Hospital said that there were leftover vaccines due to a scheduling error with the Aviva Stadium vaccination centre.

The Beacon Hospital had been used as a vaccination hub to inoculate frontline healthcare workers, but Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly requested that its vaccine operations be suspended in light of the revelations. 

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