CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois sheriff’s office investigating the vaccination practices of a deceased Chicago-area pediatrician announced Monday that tests have revealed several of the doctor’s former patients lack immunity to diseases against which they or their parents believed they had been vaccinated.
The Cook County Sheriff’s office news release comes just weeks after the office announced an investigation into the medical records of Dr. Van Koinis, an Evergreen Park pediatrician who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound last September. Authorities said Koinis left a suicide note that suggested he had followed parental requests not to vaccinate their children.
At the time, Sheriff Tom Dart told reporters that Koinis was widely known as a doctor who would provide treatment for people opposed to vaccinations.
In Monday’s release, Dart’s office said two former patients who are now adults and seven parents whose children were treated by Koinis learned they lack immunity to diseases they believed they had received vaccinations against.
Investigators are trying to determine if Koinis forged records so parents who didn’t want their children to be vaccinated could get them into schools that require shots.
But that would not explain why the results of testing varied even between siblings.
“One child who was treated by Koinis is vaccinated while a sibling is under-vaccinated or shows no evidence of vaccination,” the release said.
Adding to the mystery is that some parents told investigators they witnessed the doctor administering the shots.
“It’s unclear why the results of the tests are what they are, why some of them are immune to some (diseases) and not to others and some aren’t immune at all,” said department spokeswoman Sophia Ansari.
The doctor acknowledged in his suicide note that his records after 2010 were not reliable, according to the release.
“Based on this information, the Sheriff’s Office strongly encourages former patients of Dr. Koinis to contact their healthcare provider about testing for vaccinations,” the office said in a release.
According to the release, the state’s health department is working with sheriff’s detectives in the investigation and that a physician, at the request of investigators, is examining Koinis’ medical records.
Dart’s office said Koinis, whose body was found in a Cook County forest preserve, had been licensed to practice in Illinois since 1991.