People gather outside of the Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar synagogue in the Williamsburg neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, October 2020
People gather outside of the Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar synagogue in Williamsburg, October 2020
Photo: AFP
People gather outside of the Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar synagogue in Williamsburg in New York, October 2020

NY probes ultra-Orthodox clinics for possible vaccine fraud

State health commissioner says ParCare network may have obtained vaccines 'fraudulently,' administered them 'contrary to state's plan,' warns anyone involved 'will be held accountable to fullest extent of the law'

Ynet, i24NEWS |
Published: 12.27.20 , 13:12
A network of medical clinics owned and operated by an ultra-Orthodox man is being investigated New York authorities for allegedly inoculating members of the general public with a COVID-19 vaccine in contravention of official rollout plans.
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  • New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker announced the investigation into the ParCare Community Health Network on Saturday, saying in a statement that it may have obtained the vaccines "fraudulently" and administered doses to members of the public "contrary to the state's plan."
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    People gather outside of the Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar synagogue in the Williamsburg neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, October 2020
    People gather outside of the Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar synagogue in the Williamsburg neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, October 2020
    People gather outside of the Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar synagogue in Williamsburg in New York, October 2020
    (Photo: AFP)
    “We take this very seriously and DOH will be assisting State Police in a criminal investigation into this matter,” Zucker said in his statement, referring to the Department of Health.
    “Anyone found to have knowingly participated in this scheme will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
    According to Zucker, ParCare has allegedly violated "the state's plan to administer [the vaccine] first to frontline healthcare workers, as well as nursing home residents and staffers."
    BoroPark24, a Yiddish-language news agency, reported on December 21 that the ParCare Community Health Network had obtained 3,500 doses of the vaccine produced by Moderna and vaccinated 500 people that day.
    The agency said that aside from Boro Park, ParCare has six locations in Williamsburg, Crown Heights, Bensonhurst, East Harlem and Kiryas Joel.
    ParCare CEO Gary Schlesinger disputed the New York State allegations in a statement to the New York Post, insisting ParCare received permission to vaccinate patients and that only people over 60 or with underlying conditions were given the dose.
    He also told BoroPark that the Department of Health enjoys working with clinics that undergone through a "rigorous approval process" by the state and that meet the requirement to serve the most diverse populations.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    ארה"ב ניו יורק קורונה יהודים תחלואה ברוקלין שכונת בורו פארק
    ארה"ב ניו יורק קורונה יהודים תחלואה ברוקלין שכונת בורו פארק
    A Haredi man wears a surgical mask as he walks through Boro Park in New York
    (Photo: Reuters)
    ParCare also wrote on Twitter that it would "actively cooperate with the New York State Department of Health on this matter" and insisted it had "a long history of partnering with the City of New York to provide vital healthcare services to New Yorkers who need them most."
    New York health officials have warned that the worst-hit areas for the upsurge in the virus overlap with large ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens and in a couple of nearby counties.
    But tensions have been high between officials and Orthodox communities over social distancing measures imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19, which has ravaged Orthodox neighborhoods.
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