January 21, 2021
A Harris County Public Health doctor is being charged with Theft by a Public Servant, for taking a vial of COVID-19 vaccine, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Thursday.
Dr. Hasan 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.
A week later, he told a fellow Harris County Public Health employee, who then reported him to supervisors.
Mishandling vaccine can result in a loss of government funding to the county, according to Harris County Public Health, which first investigated the matter. The doctor was fired.
The Office of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and The Office of County Attorney Christian Menefee contacted prosecutors.
“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,” Ogg said. “What he did was illegal and he’ll be held accountable under the law.”
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 Class A Misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
Gokal is being prosecuted by the Public Corruption Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.