CHICAGO (NEXSTAR)— The city of Chicago has decided to withhold the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines from a hospital that improperly administered vaccinations to Trump Tower workers.
The withholding of vaccines comes as the city conducts a review of actions by Loretto Hospital, whose president admitted 72 restaurant, hospital, and other support personnel at Trump International Chicago were vaccinated earlier this month by hospital workers.
The hospital also confirmed it improperly vaccinated Cook County Circuit Court judges, offering the shots to more than a dozen judges and their spouses or a second person of their choosing. Hospital CEO George Miller said the judges’ vaccinations were the result of confusion around the state’s 1B and 1B+ vaccination plans.
“No judges were officially ‘invited’ or ‘prioritized’ by the hospital for vaccinations. Any vaccinations that did take place were indicative of an existing level of confusion among medical teams at Loretto and other facilities regarding the nuances and differences between the City and State’s 1B and 1B+ eligibility requirements as they applied to ‘elected officials,'” Miller told NEWS10’s sister station.
The city’s list clearly states judges fall into the 1C category, which isn’t eligible until March 29. A spokeswoman for the Office of the Chief Judge Tim Evans defended the judges in a statement, saying they didn’t take doses away from anyone else.
“Those inquiring at Loretto Hospital were told that the vaccines were already mixed and would be destroyed if not used by the end of the day, so people could go after 3:30 p.m.,” she said. She did not say how many judges or their loved ones received doses.
State Representative La Shawn Ford, who serves on the hospital’s board, said the judges bear the responsibility. “They should have known better. And coming over to the West Side of Chicago and taking vaccines away from the hardest-hit community—those people should be reprimanded. The judges bear the responsibility,” he said.
Chicago Mayor Lightfoot released the following statement on the hospital:
“As I said yesterday, our City will not tolerate providers who blatantly disregard the Chicago Department of Public Health’s distribution guidelines for the COVID-19 vaccine. This life saving vaccine is a precious, but limited resource and one that must be preserved to do the most good. Since day one of this virus, Chicago’s vaccination plan has been focused around equity and reaching those who need this life-saving treatment the most. Unfortunately, in recent days, stories have surfaced alleging providers who had an obligation to follow CDPH guidelines, ignored those restrictions and instead allowed well-connected individuals to jump the line to receive the vaccine instead of using it to service people who were more in need. CDPH is looking into these matters and if they identify providers who aren’t following the guidance, they will deny them future allocations of vaccine. 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. But to be clear, we have and will continue to demand accountability.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.