A Texas doctor has been fired and criminally charged after he was accused of stealing a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine to give shots to friends and relatives.
Authorities allege that Dr. Hasan Gokal, who worked for Harris County Public Health, stole a vial containing nine doses of the Moderna vaccine while working at a vaccination site at Lyndsay Lyons Park, in Humble, on December 29.
The theft was reportedly discovered after Gokal bragged about it to a co-worker the following week, who then reported him to supervisors.
Prosecutors later determined that Gokal, 48, had used the vial to give the vaccine to nine different people, including his wife.
‘He abused his position to place his friends and family in line in front of people who had gone through the lawful process to be there,’ said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
‘What he did was illegal and he'll be held accountable under the law.’
Authorities allege that Dr. Hasan Gokal, who worked for Harris County Public Health, stole a vial containing nine doses of the Moderna vaccine
The theft reportedly took place while he working at a vaccination site at Lyndsay Lyons Park (above), in Humble, on December 29
Ogg said Gokal ignored protocols intended to ensure that the vaccine is given to front-line workers and people at higher risk for COVID-19 complications instead of being wasted, adding that mishandling the vaccine can lead to the county’s government funding being cut.
Gokal’s lawyer, Paul Doyle, said in a written statement that his client is a ‘dedicated public servant’ who is looking forward to his day in court.
He added that his client did nothing wrong, insisting the vial was already damaged but Gokal didn’t want it to go to waste.
‘[Gokal] ensured that COVID-19 vaccine dosages that would have otherwise expired went into the arms of people who met the criteria for receiving it,’ Doyle said.
‘Harris County would have preferred Dr. Gokal let the vaccines go to waste and are attempting to disparage this man’s reputation in the process to support this policy.’Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Gokal was fired after an internal investigation by the health department.
He's been charged with a misdemeanor count of theft by a public servant, and faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine if convicted.
Prosecutors later determined that