Houston-area doctor charged with stealing COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 7:41 AM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 15:01:31-05

HARRIS COUNTY DOCTOR CHARGED WITH STEALING COVID-19 VACCINE — A Houston-area doctor has been charged with intentionally stealing a vial of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the Harris County prosecutor.

The Hill reports that Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has announced that Hasan Gokal was charged with theft by a public servant for taking a vial of COVID-19 vaccine. Gokal is facing up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Ogg made her announcement on Thursday in Houston.

Gokal, who worked for Harris County Public Health, allegedly stole a vial that contained nine doses of a vaccine while working at a county vaccination site in Humble on Dec. 29. He told a fellow employee a week later, and that employee reported him to his supervisors, the Hill reports.

The health department investigated the matter, and Gokal then was fired. Ogg said Gokal disregarded national protocols to ensure that vaccine is not wasted but to administer it to populations and front-line workers on a waiting list.

“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,” Ogg said in a statement. “What he did was illegal and he’ll be held accountable under the law.”