The HSE appears to have reversed its requirement for student nurses to receive the covid-19 vaccine before taking up clinical placements.

In a letter seen by Gript, the Chief Clinical Officer now says the new directive supersedes previous correspondence which said students would be prevented from being assigned to placements in HSE facilities unless they had received a vaccine.

This seems to be a major u-turn, with Taoiseach Micheál Martin previously saying student nurses had an “obligation” to be vaccinated.

“Clinical placements for all healthcare students (those who have and have not received/taken a vaccine) may continue in HSE facilities subject to students continuing in compliance with public health recommendations…” the new memo from Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Colm Henry read.

“This is subject to the pending opinion of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee regarding the use of AstraZeneca.”

This refers to the recent NIAC call to halt the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in those under 60 amid blood-clotting fears.

“The above now supersedes correspondence dated 26th of March advising that students eligible for vaccination, had been offered and declined vaccination, should not be assigned to clinical placement in HSE facilities.”

The memo, dated Monday the 12th of April 2021, appears to be a u-turn on the government’s previous stance.

At the end of March, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that student nurses had an “obligation” to receive the covid-19 vaccine, even if they don’t want it, for the sake of “collective solidarity” and the “overall good.”

Consequently, a number of student nurses were prevented from starting their hospital placements by the HSE for declining the jab.