A Texas doctor has been accused of stealing multiple doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and giving them to friends and family members. The doctor in question, however, has argued that he only took the doses as a way of making certain they wouldn't be wasted amid the ongoing pandemic.
Hasan Gokal, a health department doctor in the Houston area, is alleged to have stolen nine doses of the vaccine from a damaged Moderna vial. At the time of the alleged incident on Dec. 29, per this CBS News report, he was among those working at a vaccination site. Prosecutors said the 48-year-old Harris County Public Health doctor then distributed the vaccine to nine people, including his wife.
Kim Ogg, Harris County District Attorney, said the doctor’s actions were "illegal" and said the plan was to hold him "accountable under the law." Goka's attorney, Paul Doyle, criticized county officials in a separate statement.
"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, whose client has been fired in connection with the vaccine doses, said.
With a new administration in the White House, optimism has finally reared its head with regards to the vaccine distribution process. Prior to this new era, however, confusion and frustration abounded in response to the slow rollout and general lack of transparency from those in power.
On Thursday, which marked Biden's first full day in office, the new POTUS detailed his immediate strategy for beating the pandemic. Among the goals, thankfully, is an all-hands-on-deck approach to boosting the vaccine distribution process while also launching a vaccine education campaign nationwide.