Mar 29, 2021
Chicago’s West Side has been hit hard by the virus. The city’s response was to give out the first doses in the city at the West Side’s Loretto hospital, to much fanfare. Mayor Lightfoot said it was a demonstration of her administration’s commitment to “equity.”
But this month it came out that Loretto’s CEO made his staff available to vaccinate 200 members of the church he attends. That church is in the suburbs, and those doses were given while the city was experiencing a vaccine shortage. But the CEO and the pastor were fraternity brothers in college—so the West Side would have to wait.
A dozen traffic court judges and their spouses also did not have to wait. They got vaccinations at Loretto, at least some of them “out of turn.” Of course, all court proceedings have been conducted remotely, so why would they need to jump the line?
Then on March 10th, the hospital vaccinated 75 workers at the Trump Tower—reportedly because a high executive at Loretto owns a condominium unit there. Of course, the wealthy would want to keep themselves safe—even if that means the elderly and vulnerable wait! The same executive set up a vaccination event at a Gold Coast jeweler, and at a fancy downtown steakhouse!
One hospital staff member told a reporter, “to see that we are going against this mission to the detriment of our own community, it’s infuriating to me.” Thoroughly embarrassed by the scrutiny, the city’s answer was to cut Loretto Hospital off from further vaccine doses—which does nothing to help West Side residents finally get the vaccines they need.
With vaccination, just as everywhere else in our society, money and connections rule.