Texas Doctor Who Gave 9 COVID Vaccines to Family, Friends, Won't Be Indicted for Theft

A Texas doctor who gave nine doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to family and friends will not be indicted, the Associated Press reported.

Dr. Hasan Gokal, who worked for Harris County Public Health, took a damaged vial of the vaccine from where he worked as a vaccination site on Dec. 29. A judge dismissed the charges back in January but the case was taken to the grand jury where they came to the same conclusion.

Gokal's attorney, Paul Doyle, said in a statement that the grand jury's decision ends a "prolonged, unwarranted attempt by District Attorney Kim Ogg and her office to disparage Dr. Gokal's good name."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Vial
A Texas doctor caught with stolen Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, given to friends and family, will not be charged. Here, a person holds a vial of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on June 29, 2021, in Quimper, France. Fred Tanneau/Getty Images

"No doctor should ever feel forced to choose between saving lives and keeping their job," Doyle said.

Doyle said hundreds of medical professionals and others had written letters, sent emails and made phone calls in support of Gokal's actions.

"We respect the decision of the grand jury in this and every case. Evidence, not public opinion, is the guiding principle of our work," the Harris County District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

In January, prosecutors filed a misdemeanor theft charge against Gokal, who was fired after the health department conducted an internal investigation.

Doyle said Gokal did nothing wrong and was only trying to ensure that vaccine from a punctured vial was not wasted.

A judge later dismissed the theft charge, ruling there was no probable cause in the case. Harris County Court-At-Law Judge Franklin Bynum criticized prosecutors, saying their probable cause complaint was "riddled with sloppiness and errors."

After the dismissal, prosecutors presented the case to the grand jury.

In March, the Texas Medical Board dismissed an investigation against Gokal, saying he "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 also found there were no protocols for Gokal to follow and he relied on state guidance to not waste the vaccine.

In Wisconsin, a former pharmacist who purposefully ruined more than 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine was sentenced to three years in prison on June 8.

'COVID-19 Vaccination Site'
A Texas doctor will not be indicted for theft after giving nine doses of the Moderna vaccine to friends and family. Here, a woman walks past a COVID-19 vaccine site in Los Angeles, California on April 27, 2021. Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images