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BROOKLYN, NY- A network of urgent care clinics based in Brooklyn is under investigation after it may have ignored rules about who is allowed to get the coronavirus vaccine, according to the state.
ParCare Community Health Network — which has locations in Brooklyn and Harlem — may have “fraudulently obtained” doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and given it out to members of the public despite the state’s plan to first vaccinate healthcare workers and nursing home staff and residents, according to state officials.
“We take this very seriously and DOH will be assisting State Police in a criminal investigation into this matter,” State Health Commissioner Howard Zukcer said on Saturday. “Anyone found to have knowingly participated in this scheme will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
New York has so far only given out vaccines to at-risk healthcare workers and nursing home residents and staff. Emergency responders are the next group slated to get the shot, starting this week.
But, ParCare allegedly had been giving out the shots to members of the public that are included in a later phase of the state’s vaccine plan, including those over 60 or with underlying conditions.
ParCare has locations in Williamsburg, Bensonhurst, Borough Park, East Harlem and on the border of Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights. It also has an outpost in Kiryas Joel, a village northwest of the city.
The healthcare network has denied any wrongdoing and has “proactively returned” its remaining batch of vaccines, according to reports. The clinic had given out 869 of its 2,300 doses before handing over the rest to the state.
“We are confident the end result of that review will show that ParCare at all times exerted best efforts to comply with all NYS DOH requirements and will allow us to continue to achieve our number one goal of providing these critical vaccines to the New Yorkers who need them most,” they said in a recent statement.