Loretto Hospital

Chicago to Host Vaccination Clinic at Loretto Hospital After Pausing Doses During Controversy

The Chicago Department of Public Health said it will open a city-managed vaccination clinic at Loretto Hospital beginning April 21 for residents of the Austin neighborhood

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Weeks after Chicago first cut off vaccine supply to the West Side's Loretto Hospital, the city has announced a new vaccination event at the facility for area residents.

The Chicago Department of Public Health said it will open a city-managed vaccination clinic at Loretto Hospital beginning April 21 for residents of the Austin neighborhood.

"Located onsite at the hospital, the new clinic will increase vaccine access on the West Side while ensuring all vaccination guidelines are stringently followed," the department said in a release.

The site will operate from 12-6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

Previously, the city paused vaccine shipments to the facility after reports surfaced that the hospital hosted a series of COVID vaccination events involving alleged favoritism, including one in which ineligible Trump Tower workers were vaccinated.

The weeks that followed saw the resignation of the hospital's COO and the hospital's CEO being placed on a two-week suspension.

"After reviewing an internal audit conducted by the hospital and interviewing hospital leadership involved with vaccine operations, the City of Chicago has decided to open a vaccination clinic at the hospital under initial operational management by the City to serve the Austin community," CDPH said in its release.

All operations at the new site will be managed by the city itself, with the hospital providing staff to administer vaccine, the department said.

“More than anything, our goal is to get this lifesaving vaccine to the residents of Austin and their neighbors on the West Side who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement. “Loretto has acknowledged there were problems with their previous vaccination efforts and apologized for their mistakes. After reviewing the full accounting of past vaccine administered, and after multiple productive discussions with the team at Loretto about our expectations, we are ready to work in partnership with them to help get vaccine to a community that needs it.” 

Free vaccinations will be offered by appointment only to people aged 18 and over who live in the city's Austin neighborhood. Identification and insurance are not required, but proof of address will need to be provided on the day of the appointment, CDPH said.

Eligible residents can sign up here or call (312) 746-4835.

Earlier this week, Loretto Hospital had completed an internal audit on its vaccination rollout. The findings were forwarded to the city's health department, officials said.

There were at least six alleged incidents in which Loretto Hospital vaccinated people connected to the hospital’s executives.

Loretto Hospital is located on Chicago’s West Side and largely serves Black and Latino people. It was chosen last year to administer Chicago’s ceremonial first COVID-19 vaccination as part of the city’s efforts to encourage residents in West Side neighborhoods to get vaccinated.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot previously said Loretto is a “safety net hospital” that is pivotal to Chicago and that she was “committed to helping Loretto get it right because they’re so important to the West Side community.”

“Obviously, they deviated from what I think is their core mission and what should have been the focus during this critical time period, which is driving vaccine exclusively to that West Side population that’s so in need and where we still have a lot of work to do to boost the numbers on the West Side," she said following the allegations.

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
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