Hasan Gokal, doctor fired after giving away expiring doses of COVID-19 vaccine, speaks out

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Hasan Gokal, doctor fired after giving away expiring doses of COVID-19 vaccine, speaks out

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Dr. Hasan Gokal decided to give away 10 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that were on the verge of going to waste, in what he thought was the responsible decision. Everything that came next was “an absolute, complete utter shock,” and “mind-blowingly unexpected,” he told CBS News. 

The Houston doctor worked as Texas’ Harris County Public Health Department emergency response physician for the Office of Preparedness. He was also the medical director for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for the county.

In late December of last year, he was supervising a vaccination event for emergency workers — the county’s first public vaccination event, he said. Within two weeks, he’d be fired and charged with theft for his actions that night.

As the event came to an end, one last person showed up for a shot. So, a new vial of the Moderna vaccine containing 11 doses was punctured to administer the vaccine, which activated the six-hour time limit for the 10 remaining doses. 

The remaining 10 doses needed to be in arms within six hours or they would need to be thrown out, because they would have expired. Gokal said he was determined not to waste them. “This is a 5 million person county and we had the first 3,000 thousand doses. There was no room for throwing any of it out. Ever,” he said. “When you have something so precious, life-saving, it would hurt you to throw it away.”

Gokal said his first reaction was to offer the doses to the event’s workers, but they had either already gotten inoculated or declined. Emergency workers had already left the site and the police officers there had either already gotten the vaccine or said they wanted to wait before taking it.



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