At the Santa María hospital in Bilbao, it was revealed that significantly more people were vaccinated before their turn than just the hospital director. In Basurto hospital, four people also jumped the queue and were vaccinated.
An investigation conducted by the Basque Regional Department of Health into the vaccination of the hospital director exposed others who were vaccinated before their turn. They included trade unionists, priests, hospital restoration workers, courier service workers and sales machine technicians.
Regional minister Gotzone Sagardui had to explain to parliament regarding the improper vaccinations in the hospitals Santa María and Basurto in the Basque city of Bilbao. She responded saying her ministry “feels responsible for the poor coordination” at Santa María Hospital and that immediate action has been taken. The minister immediately demanded the resignation of hospital director José Luis Sabas on January 20.
The vaccines administered outwith the official program in Basurto hospital, turned out to be of a completely different nature. The investigation revealed they concerned four doses of vaccine left over from nursing homes connected to the hospital. In order not to throw away the vaccines, they vaccinated four people in the hospital. Regardless, they were vaccinated before their turn. Initially, the remaining vaccines would have gone to health care personnel. This did not happen because it was not clear who should have had priority. Ultimately, the vaccines went to hospital executives, including director Eduardo Maiz.
Minister Sagardui did not receive information about this case until 19 January. Immediately after which both directors Sabas and Maiz resigned from their positions. Unlike Sabas, Maiz initially contested his forced resignation, but eventually left.
Opposition parties of the Basque government found the minister’s statements inadequate and urged Sagardui to consider her position as minister. They question the story that doses of vaccine were “left” and being sent to an institution, while it is not yet clear which of the health care personnel will be vaccinated first.