Dr. Hasan Gokal, a medical advisor for Harris County Public Health until January, is suing his former employer for wrongful termination and discrimination based on race, after a HR director allegedly told him that he “did not ‘equitably’ distribute” excess vaccine doses and gave them to too many people “with ‘Indian’ sounding names.” Gokal frantically drove around Houston on Dec. 27, 2020, to distribute leftover COVID-19 shots that would have otherwise expired to a number of patients with underlying health conditions. He was fired for doing so, and criminally charged with theft by a public servant after what he alleges was a calculated “misinformation campaign” on HCPH’s part. (The charge was dismissed, and a grand jury later declined to indict Gokal.)
Gokal has had difficulty finding work since then. His legal team said that Gokal, who is from Pakistan, sought out elderly and at-risk patients “without race in mind,” and that the ones he found just “[happened] to be South Asian.” But HCPH “never sought to get the facts straight,” the suit states.