A celebrity doctor is facing backlash for vaccinating his shoe-designer husband, who doesn't yet qualify to receive the COVID-19 shot

  • Dr. Jake Deutsche gave his shoe-designer husband a COVID-19 vaccine at their home last week.
  • Brian Atwood, who doesn’t appear to qualify for a shot, posted the vaccination on social media.
  • The New York Department of Health told Insider on Monday that it will investigate the matter.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A celebrity doctor is facing criticism for giving his 53-year-old shoe-designer husband a coronavirus vaccine, despite his partner’s not appearing to qualify for the jab yet. 

Last week, Brian Atwood, who has designed shoes for celebrities including Reese Witherspoon and Lady Gaga, posted a video to Instagram Stories showing his husband, Dr. Jake Deutsch, giving him his second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, according to the New York Post, which saved a copy of the video. 

Deutsch is the founder and clinical director of Cure Urgent Care, a chain of clinics in Manhattan, and has appeared on CBS and Fox News to share his medical expertise. In July, Deutsch spoke to Insider about his experiences treating coronavirus patients in New York.

In a caption on the video, Atwood wrote that he was “lucky they have additional leftover doses at the end of the day!!!” 

Atwood does not appear to qualify for a vaccine in New York State yet. At the time he received his second shot last week, only a limited group of essential workers and people over the age of 65 were qualified to be vaccinated.

On Monday, that pool was expanded slightly to include adult New Yorkers of any age who are pregnant or who have underlying medical conditions like cancer or heart conditions. 

Both the Moderna and Pfizer coronavirus vaccines have posed logistical challenges because they are stored at cold temperatures and, once thawed, need to be used in a specific time period, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When someone misses an appointment to get their vaccine, that means that a dose may go to waste. In an effort to combat this waste, some pharmacies have been giving out leftover vaccines at the end of the day to whomever is around, even if they don’t yet qualify for a shot. 

Read more: ICE has no plan to vaccinate 13,860 immigrants in its custody against COVID-19. Here’s how one of the US’s most at-risk groups is falling through the cracks.

Deutsch also posted a video showing him giving himself the shot, which he eventually took down after people started complaining about him giving his husband the vaccine. 

“Does anyone else especially a health care professional find this video unprofessional!” one user commented, according to the Post, which saw the video before it was taken down.  “You have been really inspirational, but not today.”

A post shared by 𝐉𝐀𝐊𝐄 𝐃𝐄𝐔𝐓𝐒𝐂𝐇 𝐌𝐃 (@drjakedeutsch)

“Why do people listen to these vacuous celebrities?” another user commented, according to the Post.

The New York Department of Health confirmed it would investigate the issue in a Monday statement to Insider.

“We take all reports of noncompliance with the guidelines seriously and will investigate this complaint and take appropriate action if warranted,” it said. “From the beginning, New York State has been clear about who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and who is not.”

“As Governor Cuomo announced in December, providers who knowingly administer the vaccine to individuals outside of the state’s prioritization protocols may face penalties up to $1 million, as well as revocation of all state licenses,” the statement added.

Insider contacted Atwood, Deutsch, and Deutsch’s clinic for comment on Monday, but did not immediately receive a response.

This isn’t the first time the couple has faced criticism during the pandemic.

Deutsch was called out for giving an influencer a coronavirus test early in the pandemic, when there weren’t many tests available, according to the Post.

The couple also hosted a birthday party on the eve of the first lockdown in March 2020, after which both Atwood and Deutsch got sick, the Post reported.

Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.

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