Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine is pictured at Rady Children's Hospital before being returned to the refrigerator on December 15, 2020 in San Diego, California.
Adriana Drehsler | AFP | Getty Images
The doses of the coronavirus vaccine may have been mistakenly received and distributed in parts of New York, the state's top doctor said on Saturday.
Dr. Howard Zucker, commissioner for the state Department of Health, said his office had received reports that the ParCare Community Health Network had "fraudulently" received the vaccine and transferred it to "facilities in other parts of the state."
The vaccine doses, allegedly diverted for "members of the public", circumvent the state's plan to give priority to vaccination for frontline health professionals and residents of long-term care facilities, Zucker said. New York's first introduction of the vaccine was still limited to hospitals and nursing homes.
The ParCare Community Health Network – identified by the state as a provider in Orange County – serves offices in a number of neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the Upper East Side.
On December 16, the company offered "first come, first served" doses of the vaccine via a social media post on Facebook. The job included a registration form for the elderly, those at high risk, and those with underlying medical conditions.
A week later, ParCare posted photos of the Moderna vaccine on Twitter, saying the company had received thousands of doses.
The DOH said it would not comment beyond Zucker's Saturday statement.
"We take this very seriously and DOH will assist the state police in a criminal investigation into the matter. Anyone who knowingly participated in this program will be held accountable to the full extent of the law," Zucker said in a press release on Saturday.
A statement from ParCare confirmed the Ministry of Health's investigation and ensured cooperation during the state investigation.
"In these unprecedented times, we have strived to provide critical health services and deliver COVID-19 vaccinations to those qualified under the guidelines of the New York State Department of Health, which include frontline health workers and first responders" the statement said. partially.
In late October, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a partnership with ParCare to increase the availability of rapid tests at multiple locations in Borough Park and Williamsburg.