HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM) – A former county public health doctor in Texas has been charged for allegedly stealing a vial of COVID-19 vaccine in late December, officials said Thursday.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced that Dr. Hasan Gokal, who was a Harris County Public Health doctor, is accused of stealing a vial that contained nine doses of the vaccine at a county vaccination site at Lyndsay Lyons Park in Humble, Texas on Dec. 29, 2020.

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According to officials, Gokal told a public health employee about the alleged theft, which led to him being reported. He was soon fired from his position.

“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.”

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If convicted, Gokal faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine, according to the district attorney’s office.

According to county health officials, mishandling the vaccine can lead to a loss of government funding to the county.

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CBSDFW.com Staff