New York is investigating whether a health care group vaccinated members of the public, against state guidelines for who should get early doses of COVID-19 shots.
The New York Department of Health is investigating reports that a health care provider in the state may have “fraudulently obtained” doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Parcare Community Health Network, an Orange County provider, may have gotten doses of the coronavirus vaccine and diverted it to members of the public, against the state’s immunization plans, State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement Saturday.
Zucker added that Parcare may have transferred the vaccine to facilities in other parts of the state in violation of state guidelines.
New York’s plan has been to administer the COVID-19 vaccine first to frontline healthcare workers, along with nursing home residents and staffers.
“We take this very seriously and DOH will be assisting State Police in a criminal investigation into this matter. Anyone found to have knowingly participated in this scheme will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Zucker said in a statement.
The Food and Drug Administration has so far approved two coronavirus vaccines for emergency use. Vaccinations began earlier this month and it’s mostly been left up to states to decide who should receive the first doses.
Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s COVID-19 development program, is on track to have about 40 million doses of vaccine by the end of this month, of which about 20 million would be allocated for first vaccinations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.