Loretto Hospital no longer getting vaccine doses after offering shots to ineligible Trump Tower workers, Cook County judges
“While we will ensure that people who were vaccinated through Loretto can get their second doses on time, Loretto will not be receiving any first doses of vaccine next week,” said a spokesperson for the city’s Health Department.
City officials announced Thursday that Loretto Hospital’s vaccine supply was cut off after previous doses were offered to individuals not yet eligible to receive them, including Cook County judges and workers at the Trump International Hotel & Tower.
The move comes as the small hospital in Austin faces intense scrutiny following Tuesday’s revelation that it wrongly vaccinated 72 employees at former President Donald Trump’s posh hotel and apartment building.
“While we will ensure that people who were vaccinated through Loretto can get their second doses on time, Loretto will not be receiving any first doses of vaccine next week,” said a spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Public Health, which is probing the Trump Tower vaccination event.
“The hospital will not receive first doses,” the spokesperson added, “until we can confirm their vaccination strategies and reporting practices meet all CDPH requirements.”
Block Club Chicago first reported on the city’s crackdown and the vaccination event at Trump Tower. The publication also obtained a photo of Loretto’s chief operating officer, Anosh Ahmed, posing with Trump’s son, Eric, at the hotel that day. Ahmed, who owns a unit in Trump Tower, later bragged about vaccinating the younger Trump, though he has since insisted he was joking.
In the wake of that news, WBEZ on Wednesday reported that Cook County judges and their spouses were also offered vaccinations at the hospital.
Loretto has chalked both flaps up to misunderstandings of who was eligible for vaccinations. A spokesperson for the hospital didn’t respond to a request for comment on the city’s decision to halt its vaccine supply.
In a statement later Thursday, the union representing Loretto’s frontline health care workers objected to the city’s decision to withhold vaccine doses “from a safety net serving high risk and underserved, majority black and brown communities.”
Greg Kelley, the president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, instead called on the hospital’s board of directors “to hold the individuals responsible for breaking vaccine protocols accountable.” SEIU Healthcare has an ownership stake in Sun-Times Media.
“The dedicated frontline staff of Loretto and the Austin residents dependent upon Loretto in order to receive life-saving COVID-19 vaccinations don’t deserve to suffer as a result of the actions of two people,” Kelley said. “The vaccination program at Loretto, administered by its frontline staff, has already successfully vaccinated 90% of the hospital’s workforce and conducted crucial vaccine outreach to the community as part of the Chicago Plus program.“
In addition to reprimanding Loretto, the city’s Health Department sent a notice Thursday to vaccine providers across Chicago, warning that doses will be cut off to those who disregard eligibility guidelines and don’t properly log inoculations.
Without naming Loretto, Lightfoot on Thursday offered a similar warning while bemoaning reports that some providers ignored the city’s guidance and “allowed well-connected individuals to jump the line to receive the vaccine instead of using it to service people who were more in need.”
“If we are compelled to take action against any such providers, we will always make sure that residents are not left in the lurch and their needs are met,” Lightfoot said. “But to be clear, we have and will continue to demand accountability.”