Fired Texas doctor allegedly stole COVID-19 vaccine

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FILE – In this Jan. 9, 2021, file photo, vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are placed next to a loaded syringe in Throop, Pa. (Christopher Dolan/The Times-Tribune via AP, File)

(NEXSTAR) – A doctor in Texas has been fired after he was charged with stealing a vial of a COVID-19 vaccine, officials said Thursday.

Harris County-based Dr. Hasan Gokal is being charged with theft by a public servant.

The vial contained nine doses of the vaccine, the Harris County District Attorney’s office said in a press release.

Gokal reportedly stole the vial while working at a county vaccination site in Humble, Texas on Dec. 29. A week later he allegedly talked about the theft to a fellow Harris County Public Health employee, who reported him to supervisors.

“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,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said.  “What he did was illegal and he’ll be held accountable under the law.”

According to the press release, Gokal “disregarded county protocols in place to ensure vaccine is not wasted but administered to vulnerable populations and front-line workers on a waiting list.”

If convicted, Gokal faces up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

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