A Texas doctor was charged on Thursday with intentionally stealing a vial of COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Hasan Gokal stole a vial that contain nine doses of the COVID vaccine while working at a vaccination site in Humble, Texas on December 29. He was fired after he confided in a coworker who later reported him to supervisors.
Gokal was charged with theft by a public servant and faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine, according to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.
Prosecutors say Gokal “disregarded county protocols in place to ensure vaccine is not wasted but administered 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 Thursday in a statement. “What he did was illegal and he’ll be held accountable under the law.”
Attorney for Gokal, Paul Doyle argued that his client “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.”
“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,” Doyle added in a statement to NBC News.