NY healthcare provider investigated after doses obtained

Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine will be displayed at Rady Children’s Hospital before being placed in the refrigerator in San Diego, California on December 15, 2020.

Adriana Drehsler | AFP | Getty Images

The doses of the coronavirus vaccine may have been incorrectly obtained and distributed in parts of New York, the state’s top doctor said on Saturday.

Dr. Howard Zucker, commissioner of the state health department, says his office received reports from the ParCare Community Health Network that fraudulently obtained a vaccine and transferred it to ‘facilities in other parts of the state’.

The vaccine doses allegedly diverted to ‘members of the public’ bypass the state’s plan to prioritize vaccination of health professionals at the forefront and residents of long-term care facilities, Zucker said. The initial deployment of the vaccine in New York limits it to hospitals and nursing homes.

ParCare Community Health Network – identified by the state as a provider in Orange County – serves branches in a number of Brooklyn neighborhoods and the Upper East Side.

On December 16, the company offered doses of the vaccine on a “first-a-first-come, first-served basis” through a social media message on Facebook. The post contains a sign-up form for the elderly, high-risk people and people with underlying conditions.

A week later, ParCare shared photos of the Moderna vaccine on Twitter, saying the company had received thousands of doses.

The DOH said it would not comment further than Zucker’s statement on Saturday.

“We take this very seriously and DOH will assist the state police in a criminal investigation into this matter. Anyone who has knowingly participated in this scheme will be held accountable to the full extent of the law,” Zucker said in a statement. Said Saturday. .

A statement from ParCare acknowledged the health department’s investigation and ensured co – operation while the state investigated.

“During these unprecedented times, we have strived to provide critical health care services and administer COVID-19 vaccinations to those who are qualified to receive them in accordance with the guidelines of the Department of Health in New York, which provide first-line health workers. and include first responders, “the statement read in part.

In late October, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a partnership with ParCare to increase the availability of rapid testing at various locations in Borough Park and Williamsburg.