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The Houston doctor accused of stealing COVID-19 vaccines has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Texas Medical Board – though a grand jury could still decide whether to charge the physician.
The state medical board on Tuesday dismissed its investigation of Dr. Hasan Gokal in connection to the allegations that he swiped nine doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine to give them to family and friends, ABC 13 reported.
Gokal has claimed that the coveted shots at the vaccination site in Humble would have gone unused if he didn’t take them home on Dec. 29 – his first day of work at the site.
The Texas Medical Board said in a statement that 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,” according to the news outlet.
The panel added in its decision, “There were no established/written waste protocols or waiting list on December 29, 2020″ for Gokal to follow.
“Instead, he relied on state guidance to not waste the vaccine. Dr. Gokal proceeded to find and administer the vaccine, at his own time and expense, to eligible recipients before the doses expired at approximately 1 a.m. on December 30, 2020,” the medical board said.
Gokal was terminated from his position following an investigation by Harris County health officials.
Though a Texas judge tossed out the criminal case against Gokal in January, he still faces a grand jury investigation initiated by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, ABC 13 reported.
Following the medical board’s decision, Gokal’s attorney, Paul Doyle, said in a statement: “Harris County Public Health would have preferred Dr. Gokal let the vaccines go to waste.”
“For inexplicable reasons, Harris County District Attorney’s office continues its unrelenting efforts to disparage this man and his family, causing great harm to Dr. Gokal in the process. In doing so, the DA places the entire medical community in the position of choosing between performing the public good and preserving their careers,” Doyle said.
In a closed Facebook group called “Physician Community,” Gokal posted this week that he could not be more “grateful for the love and support” he has received from the doctor community.
“I am grateful that at the end of the day, the things that matter the most in my life remain unscathed…That is my children, my wife, my parents, and so much more…But just as importantly, I am grateful that I can walk with confidence with you all of you supporting me, following my moral compass, which I believe will ultimately see me through this episode,” Gokal wrote.
Gokal continued, “The Texas Medical Board closed the investigation and found no wrong doing. I am still hopeful that the criminal charges will be dropped. As of yesterday, the DA still wants to take it to a Grand Jury despite the circumstances.”
In the meantime, Gokal says he’s “donating my time to a small community clinic for the underprivileged while waiting to return to work.”
According to ABC 13, a spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, said in a statement: “We anticipate presenting all of the evidence in this matter to a grand jury, so representatives of the community can determine whether a criminal charge is appropriate.
“There has been a difference of opinion on the evidence, with a magistrate judge finding that there was probable cause to charge a crime and a misdemeanor judge finding that there was not. Our work continues,” spokesman Dane Schiller said.
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