For the first time in New York history, if not American history, doctors, nurses and health care providers could be stripped of their medical licenses and face fines of up to $1 million, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared in an executive order Monday, after a downstate provider faces criminal charges for fraudulently obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine and giving it to New Yorkers.

State police, working with the state Health Department and Attorney General Letitia James, continue to investigate reports that Parcare Community Health Network, in Orange County, improperly obtained, transferred and distributed the vaccine to 869 New Yorkers in the general public.

This is serious business, and it goes all the way to the top. Cuomo declared an executive order threatening to revoke all state licenses for health care providers that fraudulently administer a coronavirus vaccine, increasing criminal penalties up to $1 million.

“People talk, you won’t get away with it and it’s not worth the risk,” Cuomo said in a stern voice Monday during a coronavirus briefing in the state Capitol. “We will not tolerate any fraud in the vaccination process. We want to send a clear signal to the providers that if you violate the law on these vaccinations, we will find out and you will be prosecuted.”

Providers will be required to certify a patient’s eligibility to receive a COVID-19 vaccine under the order to ensure medical personnel prioritize eligible patients within the state Health Department’s specific prioritization guidelines.

We get why vaccinations are exciting. They are a million tiny heroic acts. But excitement and the fact that the vaccinations are working are not enough to hand them out without permission. That’s when things can go bad. Are things going bad worth losing your licenses and getting fined $1 million? Our answer is absolutely no.

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