The Covid-19 vaccine.
The Covid-19 vaccine.
  • A US doctor was fired and charged after being accused of stealing a vial of the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Prosecutors said the vial contained nine doses of the vaccine.
  • The doctor's attorney told CNN that the vial was due to expire and would have gone to waste.
  • Visit Business Insider SA's homepage for more stories.

An American doctor faces charges alleging that he stole nine doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from his place of work.

Dr. Hasan Gokal stole the single vial on December 29 while working at the county vaccination site in Humble, Texas, according to the Harris County prosecutor's office.

Hasan was fired, and then charged criminally, after he told a fellow public health employee who reported it to his supervisors, according to the prosecutor's office.

"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," District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement. "What he did was illegal and he'll be held accountable under the law."

The local department of health said, though the prosecutor's office, that mishandling the vaccine could result in a loss of government funding to the county.

"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," the statement from the office said.

Gokal's attorney Paul Doyle told CNN that his client only took doses that were due to expire and would have wrongly gone unused.

Doyle told CNN 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."

"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," the statement from Doyle went on.

If convicted of the alleged theft, a misdemeanour, Gokal faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine, the equivalent of around R60,000.

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