IRELAND'S vaccine rollout has been criticised again after a number of non-frontline workers received Covid-19 jabs ahead of healthcare staff.
It's understood that 10 construction workers, working at University Hospital Kerry, have received coronavirus vaccines, despite none of them being in any 'prioritised' groups.
Cork University Hospital also claims that two retired members of staff, as well as a third person with no background working in the hospital have also received the vaccine.
The news has been met with a growing sense of outrage and confusion, after it was revealed that 16 family members, including two young children, of staff working at Coombe Hospital had jumped the queue and been vaccinated against Covid-19 earlier this week.
Staff claim that the vaccines were "going spare" and that they would have been otherwise wasted, but nonetheless, the organisation of the country's vaccination programme has been widely slammed as a result.
Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris reacted by saying: "There aren't any spare vaccines in Ireland. We need to get to the bottom of this."
In a statement, University Hospital Kerry (UHK) defended the decision to vaccinate the construction workers, saying: "UHK can confirm that 10 construction workers received Covid-19 vaccines in UHK.
"There workers are contracted staff on fixed-term contracts and have been onsite for the last few months working on the construction projects associated with time-critical Covid-19-related works in the hospital.
"These workers are required to work in clinical areas such as ED [Emergency Department] to carry out some of their work and are also required to carry out their work in areas within the Covid pathway of the hospital.
"The vaccine was administered to the construction workers following the rollout of the vaccine to the priority group of frontline staff. These workers remain on site as critical workers in ED."