Dr. Ishrat Sohail, a female pediatrician from Orlando, Florida, was arrested for allegedly engaging in vaccine fraud, Newsweek reports. According to the report, Dr. Sohail reportedly gave vaccines that were to be administered to recipients under the Vaccines for Children program (VFC), to children with private insurance. Additionally, the doctor has also been accused of administering only partial doses of the vaccines and then charging families for the full dose. Vaccines under the Vaccines for Children program is intended for Medicaid and uninsured children. Initial reports suggest that Dr. Sohail’s malpractices were brought to light by a couple of her own employees.
The Florida Department of Health issued an official statement in connection with the case. In the statement, they have confirmed that the State Surgeon General has issued an emergency order suspending the license of Dr. Sohail to practice medicine in the state of Florida.
The statement also shed light on how they were able to detect the fraud on the part of Dr. Ishrat. According to the Department of Health, in 2016, during a routine visit to Dr. Sohail’s clinic as part of regular site visits to VFC providers, officials were able to determine that two vials of VFC vaccines were administered to non-Medicaid patients and that they were billed to private insurance companies. After this finding, Dr. Sohail’s clinic was taken off the VFC program for a period of two months, and the doctor was also placed on a corrective action plan.
However, nearly two years later in late January, the Health Department conducted an additional VFC visit and deduced that the doctor was once again in non-compliance with the terms of VFC vaccine usage. They also found partially used single-dose vials from the refrigerator in the clinic. The statement went on to add that they have determined that it was possible Dr. Sohail did not follow best practices in maintaining the sterility of the vaccines she administered.
“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”, an excerpt from the statement read.
At this time, the Florida Department of Health estimates that approximately 500 children might have been impacted due to Dr. Sohail’s action. They have also asked the parents of these kids to contact a new primary care provider and consider revaccination.
Following her arrest, Dr. Sohail was released on bail from Seminole County jail Friday evening.