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State Rep. La Shawn Ford resigns from Loretto Hospital board over vaccine flap

Ford “very disappointed” with hospital for vaccinating people not eligible for shots.

Loretto Hospital exterior
State Rep. La Shawn Ford resigned from Loretto Hospital’s board over its handling of the vaccine scandal.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford has resigned from the board of trustees at Loretto Hospital over how it handled revelations of improperly providing vaccinations to people not yet eligible for the shots.

“I am very disappointed with the recent developments at The Loretto Hospital regarding its use of coronavirus vaccine entrusted to the hospital,” Ford said in a statement issued Tuesday morning.

“Yesterday, I submitted my resignation to The Loretto Hospital’s Board Chairman Edward Hogan because I strongly disagreed with how the reprimand of the hospital leadership was handled. As the state representative for the hospital and as a resident in its service area, I will continue to fight for resources for The Loretto Hospital, a safety-net hospital in the Austin community.”

Hospital CEO George Miller and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Anosh Ahmed have come under fire in recent days after revelations the hospital improperly provided vaccinations to workers at Trump Tower, where Ahmed lives; at a suburban church where Miller is a member; and a luxury watch shop on the Gold Coast where Ahmed shops.

Block Club Chicago first reported the improper vaccinations.

Hospital spokeswoman Bonni Pear has said the two executives received reprimands, but details about what punishments they face have not been revealed.

In a phone call Tuesday, Ford said, “It’s critical that consequences are more transparent.”

Ford previously told the Chicago Sun-Times the two would face “harsh reprimands.”

Loretto had no immediate comment about Ford’s resignation.

Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, also refused to comment when asked about Ford’s resignation at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

Arwady did say the city has been in communication with the hospital board, calling it “a sad situation.”

The city did not provide first doses of vaccine this week “and they won’t be receiving any first doses of vaccine ... until we are sure that all their reporting is completely up to date and until we’re sure that their plans are to vaccinate their own patients and their own community.”

She said other providers will vaccinate Austin residents in the meantime.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker seconded the decision to put a hold on providing Loretto with first doses of the vaccine.

“I don’t think the mayor was wrong to make the decision to withhold vaccine, first dose vaccines,” the governor said at an unrelated news conference in Springfield. “They still have to administer second doses to people who got them at that location, but first dose vaccines. I mean, that seems like a perfectly proper kind of punishment.”

But the governor sidestepped a question about whether Miller and Ahmed should resign or what further actions are required.

“Obviously the management there is worthy of, at least, reprimand, and the decisions there are being made by the board,” Pritzker said.

Andrew Sullender reported from Springfield, and Brett Chase contributed from Chicago