Criminal charge dropped against fired area doctor accused of stealing vial of COVID-19 vaccine

HOUSTON – KPRC 2 has learned authorities have dropped the criminal charge against an area doctor accused of stealing a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Paul Doyle, attorney for Dr. Hasan Gokal, shared this statement through a representative:

“We appreciate today’s outcome and will now transition our efforts toward a wrongful termination suit. As I stated publicly last week, an apology by Harris County Public Health and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office towards Dr. Gokal and his family will not be enough. The agency disparaged this good public servant’s name and took away his employment without cause. More must be done by those responsible to make this right. We also sincerely hope this incident doesn’t deter other frontline medical personnel from doing everything they can to make sure vaccines are not wasted.”

KPRC 2 has asked Harris County Health whether Gokal will get his job back, but has not received a response as of this writing.

Gokal would have faced a Class A Misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Prior to the charge’s dismissal, he was being prosecuted by the Public Corruption Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a news release last week that Gokal stole the vial that contained nine doses while working at the county vaccination site at Lyndsay Lyons Park in Humble on Dec. 29, 2020.

Ogg said the case against Gokal isn’t over yet.

”All the evidence will likely be presented to a grand jury and probably cause may be determined by the grand jury. Judges do not have the exclusive authority,” Ogg said.

For more on this story, read our initial KPRC 2 report.

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, social media news and local crime.