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Florida Doctor Arrested For Vaccine Fraud

A pediatrician in Florida was arrested for allegedly practicing fraud in giving out vaccines. Dr. Ishrat Sohail of Orlando reportedly administered vaccines allotted for the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) to children with private insurance. VCF is meant for Medicaid patients and uninsured kids.

Sohail may also have given partial doses of vaccines to children, but billed the families for full doses, according to a statement from the Florida Department of Health, Newsweek reports.

The doctor was released from jail on bond Friday evening, local news outlets said. The arrest came after a joint investigation conducted by the state health department and the Office of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Sohail’s Florida medical license has since been suspended.

Public health officials said,

At this time, it is estimated that approximately 500 children may have been impacted. If your child received vaccines from Dr. Sohail between 2016 and 2018, you should contact a new primary care provider to consider re-vaccination.

There is a possibility that the vaccines Sohail gave may also have been unsterile, authorities warned. The statement added, “If your child experienced a severe adverse reaction or infection at the injection site of any vaccine administered by Dr. Sohail or her staff, please contact DOH-Orange epidemiology at 407-858-1485.”

The investigation into Sohail’s practices goes back to 201 when VFC providers visited the doctor’s office in a routine practice for the organization. During their spot-check, they found two vials of VFC vaccines that were given to non-Medicaid patients, but billed instead to private insurance companies. Sohail was put on a two-month suspension from the program following the incident.

When the suspension ended, Sohail was put on a “corrective action plan,” which meant she was limited to giving only a certain number of VFC vaccines. But in January 2018, the doctor was once again found to be non-compliant with the program’s orders, repeating her previous offenses.

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