An experienced NHS nurse has been struck off for giving spare Covid vaccinations to friends and relatives of staff members at a practice in Gloucestershire.
Diana Morris argued that she had “saved lives” by giving leftover jabs to ineligible people instead of throwing them away.
A misconduct hearing found that she had vaccinated 11 “family members or friends of staff” who were not registered patients at her GP surgery in Cinderford, Gloucestershire.
A Nursing and Midwifery Council tribunal heard how Ms Morris would contact patients by telephone to ask if they wanted to receive the Covid vaccine outside normal practice hours.
Her offending happened in February 2021, only a month after the vaccination programme launched in the UK, and Ms Morris has now been struck off
The hearing revealed how Ms Morris, a nurse since 1986, signed up the ineligible individuals before a healthcare assistant, who has not been named and was referred to as Colleague A, would vaccinate them.
One patient texted Ms Morris to ask “if it was OK” and to check they “wouldn’t get into trouble”.
‘Never knowingly put any patient at risk’
On one occasion, she delivered a second Covid vaccine to a patient only four weeks after he had received his first jab. National guidance at the time stipulated a 12-week gap between vaccinations.
Another patient was provided with an AstraZeneca vaccine despite advice placing him in the “high risk” category because of health dangers.
Ms Morris then “dishonestly” tried to conceal the ineligible vaccinations, it was heard, claiming she thought it was allowed with “leftover vaccine”.
She admitted a total of 22 charges at the NMC hearing, saying she had “lost everything” and would “like to return to some form of caring work”.
Ms Morris told the hearing she would “never knowingly put any patient at risk”. She said: “I now feel ruined. I have lost everything – my home, my job, my reputation and am now also struggling mentally, for which I now have prescribed medication from my GP.”
“I currently am not working and haven’t done so since. I would like to return to some form of caring work in the future if at all possible, as I have always loved working and caring for people.”
‘Deprived those that were eligible’
She said she was “under massive pressure to vaccinate as many people as possible”, adding: “If a vaccine was spare and was going to be disposed of, then rather than waste it I tried very quickly to find someone to take it.
“The charges against me are indicating I should have binned the spare vaccine rather than use it up and save lives.”
The panel struck her off and said in its ruling: “The people eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations were over 70 and those working on the front line.
“By assisting Colleague A and administering vaccines herself to ineligible people, Ms Morris deprived those that were eligible and those that were at the most risk.
“This conduct did not take place on one occasion – it was repeated. The surgery was clear that if there were any vaccine doses left, they went to the next person on the list of eligibility.”