Texas Medical Board clears Houston doctor accused of stealing vial of COVID-19 vaccine

Former doctor cleared of wrongdoing by medical board
Former doctor cleared of wrongdoing by medical board

HOUSTON – An investigation into a Harris County doctor accused of stealing COVID-19 vaccines has been dismissed by the Texas Medical Board, according to a letter shared with KPRC 2 Investigates.

The board told Dr. Hasan Gokal it determined there was insufficient evidence to a prove that a violation of the Medical Practice Act occurred. The letter is dated March 9, 2021.

“It’s a huge relief,” said Paul Doyle, the doctor’s attorney. “It’s a big win and it was the right thing to do.”

The investigation determined that Dr. Gokal appeared to have administered doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to patients that were properly consented, in the eligible patient category, and they were given doses that would have otherwise been wasted, the board wrote in the letter.

“He had a leftover vial that had six hours of shelf life left and he had to make a decision: Does he waste it and throw it away, or does he find others that qualify and do that?” Doyle said.

Some of the doses went to the doctor’s acquaintances, and the last one went to his wife, who has a pulmonary disease, Doyle said.

In the letter, the medical board wrote, “Additionally, there were no established/written waste protocols or waiting list on December 29, 2020; therefore, no further action will be taken.”

Gokal was fired from his job with Harris County Public Health and was charged with theft from a vaccination site in January, but a judge later found no probable cause.

The matter isn’t completely over because Doyle said prosecutors indicated they may still take the case to a grand jury.