Charges dropped against 74-year-old doctor who took single dose of Covid-19 vaccine for wife

Parkinson's disease patient, Arthritis hand and knee pain or mental health care concept with geriatric doctor consulting examining elderly senior aged adult in medical exam clinic or hospital

AMHERST, NY – Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 74-year-old Dr. Roy R. DeFrancis of Amherst was arraigned this morning before Hamburg Town Court Justice Carl W. Morgan on one count of Petit Larceny (Class “A” misdemeanor).

It is alleged that on February 10, 2021, the defendant was volunteering at a COVID-19 vaccine distribution site at Erie Community College South Campus in the Town of Hamburg. The defendant is accused of taking one single dose of the vaccine from the site without authorization. The defendant allegedly provided the dose to his wife who qualified to receive the vaccine under New York State guidelines at the time due to her age.

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At this morning’s proceeding, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office consented to an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, which was granted by Justice Morgan. No return court date will be scheduled.

“This incident occurred during a period of time when there was a limited number of vaccines available to adults with certain qualifications. While it was improper, our investigation found that this doctor’s intention was to bring home a dose of the vaccine to his wife, which potentially may have gone unused before the end of the day. Under New York State guidelines at the time of the alleged incident, his wife did qualify to receive a vaccine, but he should have gone through the proper procedure to make an appointment. Today, there is an abundance of COVID-19 vaccines available and I consented to the dismissal of this case in the interest of justice,” said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn.

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If convicted of the charge, DeFrancis would have faced a maximum sentence of one year in jail.      

The case was investigated and prosecuted by Chief Candace K. Vogel of the Special Investigations and Prosecutions (SIP) Unit.