Policies & Issues

Report Ties Chicago Jeweler to Hospital Vaccine Controversy

Policies & IssuesMar 30, 2021

Report Ties Chicago Jeweler to Hospital Vaccine Controversy

The city’s Loretto Hospital is under fire for allegedly vaccinating ineligible people at several locations, including a jewelry store.

Chicago—One high-end Chicago jewelry and watch store finds itself in the midst of a citywide controversy for allegedly providing a space for ineligible people to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

According to a recent report from Block Club Chicago, a nonprofit news organization that covers the city’s neighborhoods, Geneva Seal Fine Jewelry & Timepieces hosted a vaccine clinic at its store, located in the tony Gold Coast neighborhood, on March 3.

It allegedly received the vaccine doses from Loretto Hospital, whose recently resigned Chief Operating Officer Dr. Anosh Ahmed is a “high-spending and frequent” customer of Geneva Seal.

Ahmed and hospital CEO George Miller, who was just suspended for two weeks without pay, are under fire for steering doses away from the city’s underserved West Side—the neighborhood the hospital is meant to serve and one that has been devastated by COVID-19—and to people and organizations with which they have ties, including via the clinic at Geneva Seal.

A source—who went to the jewelry store to get a vaccine and said she later regretted it—told Block Club Chicago that nurses were set up on the second floor of the boutique, helping people fill out their paperwork and administering the shots.

She also told the news site that she saw people entering and exiting the store for hours who did not appear to fit the city’s eligibility rules for receiving the vaccine at that time.

Geneva Seal store manager Leonard Goldberg denied the event happened.

He said in an emailed statement to National Jeweler: “Geneva Seal has not sanctioned any vaccination events. If anyone has received a vaccine, it was a personal decision for the safety and health of their families.”

A spokeswoman for the hospital also denied the event happened in a response to Block Club Chicago.

The city of Chicago has cut off Loretto’s supply of vaccine doses as it investigates the hospital’s allocation and reporting of vaccinations following an earlier report from Block Club Chicago that the hospital administered vaccinations to ineligible people at Trump Tower, where several hospital leaders live.

In addition, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has demanded an independent investigation of the hospital, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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