An official of a hospital on Chicago’s West Side that largely serve Black and Latino people admitted Tuesday that members of his staff improperly vaccinated Trump Tower workers.
Loretto Hospital president George Miller said in a memo to hospital staff that 72 restaurant, hospital and other support personnel at Trump International Chicago were vaccinated by hospital workers. Chicago restaurant workers and hotel staff aren’t currently eligible for the vaccine.
Miller said the workers inoculated earlier this month were largely black and brown residents of the community around the hospital who were unable to leave their jobs during regular hours.
“This effort was one of multiple off-site community vaccination initiatives undertaken by The Loretto Hospital in accordance with its mission of ensuring vaccine accessibility to the minority communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the hospital said in a statement.
Miller wrote the hospital was under the mistaken belief restaurant and other frontline hospitality industry workers were considered ‘essential’ under the City of Chicago’s 1B eligibility requirements.
“I now understand, after subsequent conversations with the Chicago Department of Public Health, that we were mistaken,” Miller wrote.
Miller asserted in his memo the vaccines used at Trump Tower came from Loretto’s allotment and not an allotment that is part of the Protect Chicago Plus program. That program targets residents in 15 neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides identified as “high-need” by the city.
A health department spokesman says the city is investigating the hospital’s action. Representatives for the Trump organization did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Loretto Hospital, a 122-bed facility in the Austin neighborhood was the site of Chicago’s ceremonial first COVID-19 vaccination. City officials say the community around the hospital was hard hit by COVID-19. One in every 430 people died from the virus in the past 10 months, compared with 1 in every 605 residents citywide, according to the city’s Public Health Department.
Illinois public health officials are reporting that a daily average of 102,564 vaccinations were administered over the past seven days. The Illinois Department of Public Health announced more than 79,200 vaccine doses administered Monday brought the statewide total nearly 4.2 million.
State health officials on Tuesday reported 1,997 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, including 19 new deaths. There have been 1.2 million cases in the state, with 20,973 deaths.