On December 29, Harris County (TX) physician Hasan Gokal decided not to waste ten vaccine doses for the Wuhan virus. Nationwide, tens of thousands of doses of the vaccine have been lost; 1,200 are known to have been wasted in Western Massachusetts alone. In a sane part of the country, his initiative would have been applauded. Once a vial of vaccine is punctured, medical staff have a matter of a few hours to use it, or it must be thrown away.
When health workers in Oregon found themselves stranded in the snow with doses of vaccine and gave it to drivers on the road, they did so with impunity; it became a positive national news story, with everyone praising their ingenuity. https://t.co/EiYn4u82B5
— Esther Choo MD MPH (@choo_ek) February 11, 2021
Unfortunately for Dr. Sokal, he was in Harris County, TX. For his efforts, he was arrested, lost his job, and essentially banned from finding gainful employment. Even after a judge laughed his case out of court, the vindictive Democrat prosecutor is signaling that the case will go to a grand jury in a clear instance of Gokal being “Mike Flynned,” that is, the process is the punishment.
This is all from the New York Times:
On Dec. 22, Dr. Gokal joined a conference call in which state health officials explained the protocols for administering the recently approved Moderna vaccine. The 10 or 11 doses in a vial are viable for six hours after the seal is punctured.
Dr. Gokal said the advice was to vaccinate people eligible under the 1(a) category (health care workers and residents in long-term-care facilities), then those under the 1(b) category (people over 65 or with a health condition that increases risk of severe Covid-related illness).
After that, he said, the message was: “Just put it in people’s arms. We don’t want any doses to go to waste. Period.”
On Dec. 29, a mild Tuesday, Dr. Gokal arrived before dawn at a park in the Houston suburb of Humble to supervise a vaccination event intended mostly for emergency workers. In part because of minimal publicity, the pace was slow, with no more than 250 doses administered. But this was the county’s first public event, he said. “We knew there would be hiccups.”
Around 6:45 at night, as the event wound down, an eligible person arrived for a shot. A nurse punctured a new vial to administer the vaccine, which activated the six-hour time limit for the 10 remaining doses.
The chances of 10 eligible people suddenly showing up were slim; by now, workers were offsetting the darkness with car headlights. But Dr. Gokal said he was determined not to waste a single dose.
He said he first asked the event’s 20 or so workers, who either refused or had already been vaccinated. The paramedics on site had left, and of the two police officers, one had been vaccinated and the other declined the doctor’s offer.
Dr. Gokal said he called a Harris County public health official in charge of operations to report his plans to find 10 people to receive the remaining doses. He said he was told, simply: OK.
Finding no takers in the vaccination facility, Gokal took the vial and went home, and administered the remaining vaccine to
- a man in his late 60s with health issues;
- the man’s bed-bound mother, in her 90s;
- his mother-in-law, in her mid-80s and with severe dementia;
- his wife, her mother’s caregiver;
- a housebound woman in her late 70s;
- a distant acquaintance in her mid-50s who works at a health clinic’s front desk;
- a 40-ish woman he had never met whose child relies on a ventilator.
The witching hour approaching, Gokar was desperate:
Tired and frustrated, Dr. Gokal said that he turned to his wife, whose pulmonary sarcoidosis made her eligible for the vaccine. “I didn’t intend to give this to you, but in a half-hour I’m going to have to dump this down the toilet,” he recalled telling her. “It’s as simple as that.”
He said his hesitant wife asked whether it was the right thing to do. “It makes perfect sense,” he said he answered. “We don’t want any doses wasted, period.”
With 15 minutes to spare, Dr. Gokal gave his wife the last Moderna dose.
The next day, he submitted his paperwork, and the trouble began.
Several days later, the doctor said, that supervisor and the human resources director summoned him to ask whether he had administered 10 doses outside of the scheduled event on Dec. 29. He said he had, in keeping with guidelines not to waste the vaccine — and was promptly fired.
The officials maintained that he had violated protocol and should have returned the remaining doses to the office or thrown them away, the doctor recalled. He also said that one of the officials startled him by questioning the lack of “equity” among those he had vaccinated.
“Are you suggesting that there were too many Indian names in that group?” Dr. Gokal said he asked.
Exactly, he said he was told.
Incredible. Too many Indian names. Who could even mouth those words?
To understand what happened, you have to understand that Critical Race Theory is as much a part of the modern public health establishment as anything doing with, well, public health. When CDC was developing its initial vaccine guidelines, essential workers, like, literally, grocery clerks, were prioritized over the elderly because of the concern that too many old white people were getting the vaccine and not enough young minorities (I don’t know why they assumed certain occupations were heavily minority, it obviously had nothing to do with “stereotypes,” right?). To get more on this, read CDC Is Literally Trying to Kill Granny by Using Critical Race Theory to Decide Who Will Get Wuhan Virus Vaccine.
Too many Indians getting the vaccine, never mind that they actually needed it, and the vaccine was going to go to waste, was a mortal sin. On January 21, Gokal learned, via newspaper headline, that he was a criminal.
Harris County’s district attorney, Kim Ogg, had just issued a news release that afternoon with the headline: “Fired Harris County Health Doctor Charged With Stealing Vial Of Covid-19 Vaccine.”
It alleged that Dr. Gokal “stole the vial” and disregarded county protocols to ensure that vaccines are not wasted and are administered to eligible people on a waiting list. “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,” Ms. Ogg said.
The judge assigned the case, which was essentially shoplifting but with a huge press roll out by the progressive Democrat Ogg, dismissed the case.
“In the number of words usually taken to describe an allegation of retail shoplifting, the State attempts, for the first time, to criminalize a doctor’s documented administration of vaccine doses during a public health emergency,” he wrote. “The Court emphatically rejects this attempted imposition of the criminal law on the professional decisions of a physician.”
Both the Texas Medical Association and the Harris County Medical Society recently issued a statement of support for physicians like Dr. Gokal who find themselves scrambling “to avoid wasting the vaccine in a punctured vial.”
“It is difficult to understand any justification for charging any well-intentioned physician in this situation with a criminal offense,” the statement said.
Now the jilted DA says the case will go to a grand jury.
This is absurd and obscene, and one can’t help but wonder if Goskal was targeted for this persecution because of his national origin. In the vernacular of the Critical Race Theory industry, South Asians are “white adjacent,” and giving them the vaccine out of turn, no matter their need, broke the rules of “equity.”
This story is important. This is what they MEAN by "equity." They want to apply the same thinking in schools and everywhere. Equity means RACIAL QUOTAS, even if it means leaving people behind, throwing out vaccines, firing people for doing the right thing.https://t.co/YWGyrdAjl9
— James Lindsay, won't fit in your box (@ConceptualJames) February 11, 2021
I suspect that Dr. Goskal will come through this fine, but right now, he’s unemployed and, in Harris County, unemployable. The DA has no interest in resolving the issue because she knows it is a ridiculous charge, and the longer she drags it out, the more severe the punishment is for Gokal. And punishing heretics is something progressives are very, very adept at.