Vaccine explanations from Hôpitaux Robert Schuman

Hôpitaux Robert Schuman denies any will to act on the sidelines of the government. Phot'on air/HRS

Hôpitaux Robert Schuman denies any will to act on the sidelines of the government. Phot'on air/HRS

Hôpitaux Robert Schuman (HRS) has been embroiled in several problems linked to the vaccination campaign but refutes any attempt of setting up a vaccination strategy on the sidelines of that of the government. 

After the turmoil caused by the early vaccination of members of its board of directors, HRS is also grappling with other issues. 

The first is the sidelining of the director-general, Dr Claude Schummer, put on "special leave" since 8 March, according to Radio 100.7. He could be replaced shortly by Dr Gregor Baertz, according to RTL. A gap in connection with the astonishing vaccinations of the president and vice-presidents of the board? Perhaps. In any case, if Schummer initially said that "in no case did the members of the board of directors request to be vaccinated", he then recognised "loopholes in the logistics". 

An internal audit at HRS, according to our colleagues at 100.7, highlight half a dozen contentious cases, people who therefore may have fallen through the cracks and were able to benefit from an early and undoubtedly undue vaccination at that time.

"I can only confirm one thing: Dr Claude Schummer has not been in his office for a week," Marc Glesener, HRS communications manager, told Paperjam. Is he about to be replaced? No comment on this. But the HRS board is due to meet on Tuesday evening.

A second, perhaps thornier, topic: that HRS may have established contacts to order 200,000 doses of vaccine on the sidelines of the government's strategy. “Hospital institutions, including ours, have permanent contact with laboratories, suppliers… On one of these occasions, it was mentioned that there could be avenues for possibly obtaining vaccine doses. We just listened to what was being said. If subsequently this lead had been concrete and serious, we would have advised on what could have been done. "

But Glesener immediately provides two important details. “First, regarding this matter the hospital hierarchy was informed of what had been said. Second, it was never imaginable to work on the fringes of government. If we had continued on this track, it would have been done in full collaboration with the ministry of health. HRS never wanted to go it alone."

Meanwhile, Schummer went a bit further by asserting that Jean-Louis Schiltz, the chairman of the board, had started negotiations abroad to obtain vaccines.

Finally, the third issue, that HRS may have made contact with an insurance company. To negotiate the provision of its policyholders' vaccines that hospitals could have obtained? “I don't know,” Glesener concludes. "In any case, this step was never brought to the attention of the hierarchy this time." The initiative would therefore have been Schummer’s alone. He did not respond to requests from Paperjam on Monday.

One question remains: can a private group, like HRS, take the initiative to contact another private company, like Pfizer-BioNTech, to place an order for products, by "bypassing" the government? Asked by Paperjam, the health directorate could not answer, the question being "currently under examination".

This article was originally published in French on Paperjam and has been translated and edited for Delano.