San Jose hospital chief reportedly gets ax over COVID-19 vaccine scandal
Good Samaritan's COVID-19 vaccine protocols are under review by Santa Clara County. File photo.

One of Good Samaritan’s top leaders is said to be out of a job after he came under fire for flouting county guidelines and providing COVID-19 vaccines to Los Gatos teachers as part of an apparent quid pro quo.

Sources familiar with the hospital say Chief Operating Officer Gary Purushotham has been fired, the Mercury News reported.

Good Samaritan Hospital spokesperson Sarah Sherwood did not respond immediately to requests for comment from San José Spotlight but told the Mercury News that “disciplinary action has been taken” and Purushotham was still at the hospital as of Jan. 26.

As first reported by San José Spotlight last week, Los Gatos Union School District superintendent Paul Johnson said teachers would have access to the COVID-19 vaccine at the behest of “the COO” Purushotham.

“The COO of the hospital says we can access the appointments through here and has cleared LGUSD staff to sign up under the healthcare buttons,” Johnson wrote to teachers and staff.

On Jan. 25, the office of the Santa Clara County District Attorney confirmed it was looking into the matter. County Counsel James Williams also confirmed there could be legal implications.

“When people come for vaccinations … we’re not requiring in the county’s health system and other health systems are not requiring, any extensive documentation. But we are requiring people to attest  that means under penalty of perjury  to affirm their eligibility,” Williams said. “And that system relies in people being truthful.”

That’s why perjury is a crime, Williams said.

“So yes, it is very concerning that someone is suggesting people should affirmatively select a category that does not represent who they are,” Williams said.

In a letter on Jan. 22, COVID-19 Testing Officer Marty Fenstersheib said the county would restrict future vaccine doses at the hospital until there was proof distribution could be done equitably.

“The county will provide Good Samaritan with sufficient vaccine doses to complete vaccination of those people who Good Samaritan has already administered a first vaccine dose for,” Fenstersheib wrote in a letter to Purushotham, adding the county will not privide the hospital with additional vaccine doses until it provides a plan on following state and county eligibility guidelines.

The public health department said as of Jan. 26, Good Samaritan had not yet submitted a plan as per Fenstersheib’s request.

Contact Madelyn Reese at [email protected] and follow her @MadelynGReese on Twitter.

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