After the Chicago Department of Public Health announced that it was halting distribution of coronavirus vaccine doses to Innovative Express Care, alleging that the clinic “knowingly misallocated” more than 6,000 doses of the vaccine, officials with the clinic are now firing back, saying that they “strongly disagree” with the decision.
The company was contracted with the city of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools to vaccinate district employees and teachers, with 1,500 appointments each week dedicated to those individuals.
The clinic says that all doses not used by CPS employees in a given week were then given to another eligible patient for their first dose, something they say caused them to run afoul of city officials.
“We received vaccine allocations each week, and our intention has always been to have a 100% utilization rate in order that every single dose we received was put into the arm of a qualified patient that week,” the clinic said in a statement. “Clearly, we took this idealistic vision very seriously, which meant that doses intended for CPS employees actually went to seniors, frontline essential workers, and other qualified patients.”
Officials blasted the city’s decision, saying that their model of giving vaccine doses to eligible individuals “should be modeled, not penalized.”
“The decision by CDPH officials today leaves us bewildered, saddened, and frankly disappointed in our local government,” the clinic said. “CDPH officials never made it clear to us as a provider that we should be storing vaccines in a refrigerator for people awaiting second doses. Rather, we have been following the nation’s commitment to get as many vaccines in eligible patients’ arms, as quickly as possible. Our mission involved vaccinating as many eligible patients as quickly as possible, and not at the whims of the city officials’ latest political crisis.”
CDPH announced Tuesday that it had halted distribution of the coronavirus vaccine to the company. The city says that IEC “administered vaccine to non-CPS individuals without prior authorization,” and that it was reclaiming all vaccine distributed and stored at IEC’s facilities.
The city argues that IEC “knowingly misallocated” more than 6,000 doses of the vaccine, including doses that were allocated to serve as second doses for individuals who had already received their first shots.
Officials called the actions of IEC “completely unacceptable behavior.”
Officials with Chicago Public Schools say that there were never any issues filling the 1,500 new first dose appointments that were made available exclusively to district employees each week.
“We are deeply concerned by the allegations involving Innovative Express, and are committed to a smooth transition that ensures minimal disruption for staff,” CPS said in a statement.
CPS employees who had appointments scheduled for Wednesday are having those appointments rescheduled, and that new providers will pick up appointments scheduled beyond that date.
Individuals who had second dose appointments scheduled at the IEC clinic will be vaccinated at Truman College, according to city officials.