A health care provider in New York is under investigation after being accused of obtaining and distributing COVID-19 vaccines to members of the public.
In a statement released Saturday, the state health department revealed that it had received reports that the Orange County-based Parcare Community Health Network had breached New York’s plan to administer a vaccine to frontline health care workers, nursing home residents and employees first.
The statement said that the network “ may have fraudulently obtained the COVID-19 vaccine, transferred it to facilities in other parts of the state in violation of state guidelines and transferred it to members of the public. ”
Parcare posted photos on social media of its centers receiving hundreds of doses of Moderna vaccine and claiming to have obtained state permission despite not being officially listed.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker revealed, pictured, Saturday that the Orange County-based Parcare Community Health Network is under investigation for obtaining up to 2,800 doses of Moderna vaccine using fraudulent means.
This will be the first case of a vaccine fraud in New York since the vaccine began rolling out on December 15. Pictured, a nurse preparing a COVID-19 vaccine Moderna for a worker at NYFD
On December 21, Parker posted a photo of the Moderna vaccine shipment
“We are taking this matter very seriously,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “The Department of Health will assist the state police in a criminal investigation into this matter.”
He added, “Anyone found to have knowingly participated in this scheme will be held accountable to the maximum extent permitted by law.”
The Parcare Network, which has locations in Brooklyn, Orange County, and Manhattan, is not among the facilities listed as a state-designated vaccination center.
However, on a Facebook page linked to one of their Brooklyn sites, they posted Dec.16 to say that they are “ authorized to distribute #CovidVaccine to people who meet certain criteria. ”
They urged patients to register with them to receive a vaccine if they were considered to be at high risk or had underlying health conditions.
On December 21, they published another update stating that they had just received thousands of doses of vaccine at their centers.
One small injection can make a difference to the entire community! Our ParCare centers received thousands of # COVID19 #Moderna #vaccines vaccines this morning. ”
“Thanks to UPS and our dedicated staff who got up early to receive this #healthcareheroes lifesaving shipment.”
BoroPark24 It was reported that the network’s Borough Park site had received 600 Moderna vaccines that morning, while the remaining 2,800 doses were sent to their other four sites.
Parcare posted on December 16th to say that it is “ authorized to distribute #CovidVaccine to people who meet certain criteria ” but are not officially listed
Parcare shared this photo on Facebook of their Moderna vaccine shipment
“ Hundreds of patients have already been vaccinated today, and people are still coming in, ” said Gary Schlesinger, CEO and president of ParCare Publishing, adding that they were hoping to vaccinate 500 people on that first day.
“You should be on that list,” Schlesinger said. Once you are on the list we have to go through a screening to make sure you are either a healthcare worker, are over 60, or have underlying conditions.
We will not vaccinate people who are not eligible for this first batch of injections.
He also claimed that the center would continue to receive more doses of the vaccine despite not being appointed as the distributor.
“We hope in another week or two, we will have enough to give more people, but this is where it is now,” he said, claiming to the publication that they were able to get the doses because they are larger in terms of area. Other clinics.
According to their website, the provider is “a multidisciplinary center that provides services such as primary care, internal medicine, dermatology, physiotherapy and pediatrics; helping our patients maintain optimal health and prevent potential diseases.”
This will be the first case of fraud related to the launch of the vaccine in New York since distribution began on December 15th.
It is unclear what penalties Parcare could face if found guilty of fraud.
Our manager has been contacted for comment but has yet to respond.
A view of the Parker Health and Medicine Center in Monroe, Orange County. The network also has sites in Brooklyn and Manhattan that have received doses of the vaccine
As of Wednesday, the last time an update was provided, 89,000 New Yorkers have now received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.
According to a statement, 22,000 doses were administered in 90 nursing homes.
On Saturday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state was “vaccinating New Yorkers as quickly as possible”.
“But reaching the levels of immunity we need is a long-term effort,” he added.
New Yorkers have brought the state’s infection rate from the highest in the nation to one of the lowest, and they should be commended for that. Now we need to keep up the good work.
“We will ultimately win the battle with COVID-19, but New Yorkers have a long journey ahead,” said Cuomo.
“The holiday season is a time of celebration and contemplation, but it brings the potential for increased prevalence if we let go of our caution. It is vital that New Yorkers celebrate smartly, wash their hands, wear masks and socialize this holiday season.
New York State Senator Chuck Schumer said on Thursday that New York City, separated from the funds donated to New York City, will receive about $ 800 million to help ensure the provision of a coronavirus vaccine and other coronavirus care efforts.
“The most important thing we want to ensure about the coronavirus vaccine is universal access – without hindrance – to New Yorkers,” Schumer said.
Part of the way we do it, and to ensure that a free vaccine is available here in New York, is the focus of the federal money that we just got in the recently voted COVID Relief Bill. [Tuesday] night.
Communities across the northern part of the state will get a large share of more than $ 775 million to do these things, and I’m here to say that money is on the way, and to get information about what happens next to the local sites as distribution ramps up.
10806 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in New York on Saturday as the state’s positive rate remained at 5.36%.
There were 122 new deaths, bringing the death toll to 29,396.
On Saturday, there were 6,884 people hospitalized in New York with COVID-19, 1,129 of whom were in the intensive care unit.
Nationwide, 18.8 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus and the death toll has reached 331,116.