The Argentine Ministry of Health published on Monday a list of 70 people who received the vaccine against COVID-19 preferentially, the disclosure of which triggered the “VIP vaccines” scandal, notes AFP.
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The list includes President Alberto Fernandez and members of his cabinet, as well as Economy Minister Martin Guzman, Argentina’s ambassador to Brazil, former President Eduardo Duhalde, his wife and their children, as well as officials who did not fall into the target population for the first 1 , 8 million doses of vaccine received in the country.
Health personnel have been given priority for vaccination, and the administration of the vaccine to people over the age of 70 in the province and over the age of 80 in Buenos Aires has only just begun.
The scandal erupted last Friday when a journalist told a radio station that, based on his friendship with former Health Minister Gines Gonzalez Garcia, who was later forced to resign, he was vaccinated inside the ministry by public hospital staff from the public in Buenos Aires possessing 3,000 doses.
His confession triggered a wave of reactions and the hashtag #vacunasvip (VIP vaccines) appeared on social networks.
“These 3,000 doses of vaccine were by no means at the ministry’s discretion,” new health minister Carla Vizzotti said Monday.
Argentina, a country of 44 million people, has more than two million cases of COVID-19 for 51,000 deaths.
To date, the country has received 1.22 million doses of Russian Sputnik V vaccine and 580,000 doses of Covishield from the Indian Serum Institute, resulting from a technology transfer from AstraZeneca.
The government expects to receive “in the coming days” one million doses of the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm, approved urgently on Sunday by the Ministry of Health.
About 13 complaints against the former health minister were filed in court on Monday, but Carla Vizzotti denied the existence of “VIP vaccines” in her ministry.
“The idea that there is a VIP vaccinator in the Ministry of Health is false. What happened was a special situation, 10 people were vaccinated, and the president took the necessary measures,” she said.
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