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Texas doctor charged in connection with theft of coronavirus vaccine

Gokal stole a vial that had nine doses of a COVID-19 vaccine while working at a county vaccination site.

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Doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
Doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
(JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Updated: January 22, 2021 - 12:14pm

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A Texas doctor has been charged in connection with the theft of a vial of the coronavirus vaccine that contained as many as nine doses, according to a Harris County prosecutor, The Hill reported.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said Thursday that Hasan Gokal, a doctor with county's public health department, has been charged in connection with the theft, which could result in a maximum one year in jail and $4,000 fine, according to The Hill newspaper.

Gokal allegedly stole a vial while working at a county vaccination site in Humble, Texas. He told a coworker about it a week after the theft, and they reported him to his supervisors.

Following an investigation by the health department Gokal was fired. Ogg said that Gokal ignored county protocols that were implemented to ensure the vaccine is not wasted and given to individuals 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. "What he did was illegal and he’ll be held accountable under the law."

Gokal’s attorney, Paul Doyle, said the county would have preferred Gokal let the vaccines expire and go to waste and is attempting to ruin his reputation while supporting the policy.

Doyle also said his client was "a dedicated public servant who ensured that COVID-19 vaccine dosages that would have otherwise expired went into the arms of people who met the criteria for receiving it."  

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