Court Battles

Grand jury declines to indict doctor accused of COVID-19 vaccine theft

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A former Houston-area doctor on Wednesday was able to walk free after a grand jury declined to indict him over accusations that he stole nine doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Hasan Gokal, who formerly worked for Harris County Public Health, was fired in December for allegedly stealing vaccine doses and sharing them with friends and family.

According to The Associated Press, grand jurors in Harris County made the decision that Gokal’s actions did not warrant criminal charges. The decision follows a judge ruling in January to dismiss a theft charge in Gokal’s case.

In February, Gokal defended his actions, noting that he did not want to waste vaccine doses. He said at the time that he had checked with all employees and police who were present at the vaccination event held in December, and after they declined or had already gotten the shot, he began to reach out to people who were eligible for the vaccine.

“This is a 5 million-person county, and we had the first 3,000 doses. There was no room for throwing any of it out. Ever,” Gokal said at the time. “When you have something so precious, life-saving, it would hurt you to throw it away.”

Paul Doyle, Gokal’s attorney, praised the grand jury’s decision in a statement, saying that it ended a “prolonged, unwarranted attempt by District Attorney Kim Ogg and her office to disparage Dr. Gokal’s good name,” the AP reported.

“No doctor should ever feel forced to choose between saving lives and keeping their job,” Doyle reportedly said.

Tags Coronavirus coronavirus pandemic coronavirus vaccine COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccine Hasan Gokal

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