Doses of the coronavirus vaccine may have been wrongfully obtained and distributed throughout parts of New York, the state’s top doctor said Saturday.
Dr. Howard Zucker, commissioner for the state’s department of health, says his office received reports of Parcare Community Health Network “fraudulently” obtaining the vaccine and transferring 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 inoculate frontline healthcare professionals and residents of long-term care facilities, Zucker said.
Parcare Community Health Network – identified by the state as a provider in Orange County – services branches throughout a number of Brooklyn neighborhoods.
It wasn’t immediately clear how much vaccine was suspected of skipping frontline healthcare workers and whether it was the Pfizer/BioTech or Moderna vaccine. The DOH said it wouldn’t comment beyond Dr. Zucker’s Saturday statement.
“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 the Saturday press release.
At the end of October, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a partnership with Parcare to increase the availability of rapid testing in several locations throughout Borough Park and Williamsburg.
Representatives for Parcare did not immediately respond to News 4’s request for comment.