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Feds looking into Loretto Hospital’s vaccination program

The news comes more than seven months after Block Club Chicago began a series of reports about the hospital’s handling of the vaccine, including doses administered to ineligible workers at Trump International Hotel & Tower. 

Loretto Hospital at 645 S Central Ave. serves the Austin community.
Loretto Hospital’s handling of coronavirus vaccine is being investigated by federal authorities.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times file

The Loretto Hospital vaccination program that became mired in scandal earlier this year is the subject of a federal investigation, a source confirmed for the Chicago Sun-Times.

The news comes more than seven months after Block Club Chicago began a series of reports about the hospital’s handling of the vaccine, including doses administered in March to ineligible workers at Trump International Hotel & Tower.

Block Club Chicago and the Better Government Association first reported the existence of the federal investigation Tuesday. A hospital spokeswoman had no comment.

The vaccination event at Trump Tower, where Loretto Chief Operating Officer Anosh Ahmed owned a unit, occurred in early March when doses were still hard to come by.

Hospital President and CEO George Miller said in a memo at the time that the hospital was under the mistaken impression that restaurant and other frontline hospitality industry workers were eligible for the vaccine in Chicago. He said the doses were given at the request of West Side residents who worked at the tower.

Ahmed resigned in the wake of the controversy, and Miller received a two-week suspension. Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration temporarily cut off vaccine supplies until the hospital could show it had a plan to make sure shots were going to the Austin community.

The hospital released findings from an audit in April, reporting that 15,700 vaccinations had been administered by the hospital at the time. Of those, 99.2% had gone to residents deemed eligible per city guidelines and 70% went to people of color.