CNN – A Texas public health doctor charged with stealing a vial of Covid-19 vaccine was trying to use leftover doses so they wouldn’t go to waste, his attorney said Friday.
Dr. Hasan Gokal has been charged with theft by a public servant, a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg’s office said in a statement Thursday.
Gokal is accused of taking a vial with nine doses on December 29, 2020. He was working at a vaccination site in Humble, north of Houston, Ogg said.
Authorities contend the doctor “disregarded county protocols in place to ensure vaccine is not wasted but administered to vulnerable populations and front-line workers on a waiting list.”
Ogg said in the statement:
“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.”
“What he did was illegal, and he’ll be held accountable under the law.”
On Friday, Gokal’s attorney, Paul Doyle, said his client was simply trying to use all the doses left over in an open vial instead of throwing them away.
In a news conference, Doyle said a new vial had to be opened to administer a vaccine to the last person that showed up on December 29, 2020, around 6:45 p.m. CT.
This resulted in 10 doses left over.
“As they wrap up, they have a vial that has now a six-hour (shelf life),” Doyle said, “and Dr. Gokal is faced with the issue of what to do with it … “
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