A Florida pediatrician was arrested Friday for allegedly administering partial vaccines to privately insured children. The vaccines were reserved for the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) that caters to Medicaid and uninsured kids.

According to the website of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention: “The Vaccines For Children (VFC) program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay.”

“CDC buys vaccines at a discount and distributes them to grantees — i.e., state health departments and certain local and territorial public health agencies — which in turn distribute them at no charge to those private physicians' offices and public health clinics registered as VFC providers,” the website added.

Dr. Ishrat Sohail, a pediatrician from Orlando, Florida, was accused of Medicaid fraud. She was arrested following a joint statement released by the state’s health department and the Office of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit on Feb. 23.

“At this time, it is estimated that approximately 500 children may have been impacted,” public health officials announced in a Feb. 23 statement, Newsweek reported. “If your child received vaccines from Dr. Sohail between 2016 and 2018, you should contact a new primary care provider to consider revaccination.”

According to the Florida Department of Health, Dr. Sohail was also accused of giving more than 500 children partial doses of vaccine but charging them in full. She would reportedly leave a portion of the vaccine in the vial and then redraw and use it on a second patient, hence making double the profit.

The children who were given partial doses might need to be vaccinated again, the department added, NBC4i reported. 

State officials also warned parents their children might not have received vaccines for the diseases they thought they were getting vaccinated for. Additionally, the accused doctor might have also used unsterile needles when administering the vaccines.

“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,” officials advised.

Last week, one of Dr. Sohail’s staff members contacted Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and informed them the pediatrician was planning to shred patient files related to the fraudulent vaccine administrations. The anonymous informant’s tip helped law enforcement agents arrest Dr. Sohail before she could get rid of any evidence related to her crime.

This was not the first time Dr. Sohail was accused of Medicaid fraud. During a 2016 visit to her office, VFC providers found two vials of VFC vaccines administered and billed to non-Medicaid and privately insured patients.

After a two-month suspension from the program, Dr. Sohail was put on a “corrective action plan,” which included limiting the number of VFC vaccines.

She was yet again found to be non-compliant with the plan in January 2018. State officials asked for Dr. Sohail’s Florida medical license to be suspended immediately.

Dr. Sohail refused to comment on the ongoing case against her when she left Seminole County Jail, Florida, on Friday.