Peru foreign minister resigns over early vaccination scandal
Peru’s foreign minister resigned Sunday in a growing scandal over the revelation that government officials received Covid-19 vaccinations well before the general public.
The South American nation has been badly hit by the pandemic, with its health system overwhelmed and a targeted vaccination program for health workers rolling out only from February 8.
Public resentment over officials receiving vaccinations — despite there being no date for a wider immunization roll out — has seen at least two government officials resign.
Elizabeth Astete tweeted on Sunday that her resignation had been formally accepted by President Francisco Sagasti.
She said in the statement she had been vaccinated on January 22, calling it a “serious mistake.”
Sagasti told the America Television channel he was “outraged and furious” about the situation.
Astete is the second member of Sagasti’s cabinet to resign after health minister Pilar Mazzetti stepped down following a newspaper expose that ex-president Martin Vizcarra had received a coronavirus shot in October.
Peru only began its immunization drive, starting with health workers, in early February after receiving 300,000 Chinese Sinopharm vaccine doses.
There is still no date for a general vaccine roll-out, but the government has said it intends to vaccinate 10 million people by July.
Vizcarra, 57, was inoculated just weeks before he was impeached and removed from office on charges he was “morally incompetent.”
The ex-president — who is now campaigning for a seat in Congress — said last week he and his wife had volunteered to take part in a vaccine trial, adding he kept mum as “volunteers have to maintain confidentiality.”
But Lima’s Cayetano Heredia University, which is leading clinical tests of the Sinopharm vaccine, on Sunday denied Vizcarra had been a trial volunteer…..read more