The news that the Argentine Minister of Health, Ginés González García, had a “VIP vaccine center” next to his office and that he has reserved 3000 doses of Sputnik V to vaccinate people on a list decided only by him has caused a major political scandal and even with García’s resignation, the case may affect the President, Alberto Fernandéz. An investigation is underway to determine other irregularities in the distribution of immunizers against covid-19.
“It was with pain that I demanded his resignation. Ginés was a great minister, and on top of that, I like him ”, said the President – the two were close. “But what you did is unforgivable”, he sentenced, quoted by the newspaper Pagina 12. “Politics is ethical, we have to end this type of practices, with the Argentine culture of cunning, of influencing traffic.”
For days, a strong political factor was suspected in the criterion for the distribution of vaccines, for example, the organization La Cámpora, close to Vice President Cristina Fernandéz de Kirchner, has installed vaccination centers in several of its facilities in Buenos Aires, according to the spanish daily The country.
The statements of several personalities saying that they had been vaccinated also raised suspicions. In February, Beatriz Sarlo, a teacher and essayist, revealed that she had been offered a “vaccine under the table” and had rejected it.
After the declaration, journalists tried to find out where the offer came from. The journalist who ended up clarifying the matter was, however, one who was part of the privileged club: Horacio Verbitsky, 79, said on the radio that he had been vaccinated the previous day, clarifying that the Minister of Health, his “old friend ”, He had found a place at the Ministry’s headquarters.
Vaccines in Argentina were given priority to health professionals, and only last week opened vacancies for those over 80, who first have to register on a website and wait to be called, says the BBC.
Several personalities in the President’s political field criticized the journalist’s vaccination, who “seems to have had political intent difficult to understand”, said the president of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo (90 years old and vaccinated at the invitation of the Buenos Aires province government) as union leader Juan Graibois says according to the The country.
Following the case it was discovered that the minister had a stock 3000 vaccines with which politicians, family members, and friends were being vaccinated, including the unionist, millionaire and president of the historic football club Independiente Hugo Moyano.
Prosecutor Guillermo Marijuan filed a criminal complaint against the minister, the journalist and “other people” for possible misconduct and demanded the list of people vaccinated irregularly. “This is an action of great institutional gravity,” he declared.
This was the second major vaccine scandal in Latin America, after it was discovered in Peru that former President Martín Vizcarra and his wife, Maribel, had been vaccinated with the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, taking advantage of a clinical trial. Vizcarra was ousted in November on suspicion of corruption, and received his first dose of immunization in September, when he was still in power.
The current President, Francisco Sagasti, said that 487 people were vaccinated “irregularly” in Peru. These people, including many government officials, “used their position to be vaccinated with doses of the Sinopharm vaccine that went beyond those used in clinical trials.”
Irregularities in Europe
The scarcity of vaccines worldwide, with the scale of production insufficient for an extended vaccination in most countries, has led to many uses in several countries, also in Europe.
In Austria, not even a month had passed since the start of the vaccination campaign when an investigation into possible irregular vaccinations, including from mayors, was announced.
The suspicions were that in several homes, too many doses had been requested, and these were given to people who were not on the priority list (the remaining doses should be given, according to the rules in force, to people over 80) . Instead, they were given to family members of caregivers, local politicians and city officials. In one case, it is even suspected that the home ordered too many vaccines to give them to the person in exchange for a donation to the institution.
The vaccination of local politicians and even religious leaders who were not on the list of priority cases also caused controversy in Germany. In one case, a Mayor of Halle, and ten other members of the city’s legislative assembly, were vaccinated after “selection by a random number generator”. The bishop of Augsburg and his deputy vicar will also have received the vaccine earlier than it would be his turn, says broadcaster Deutsche Welle, as well as hundreds of police officers, administrative staff in hospitals, firefighters and even interns in the chambers.
In England, at least 100 Public Health Agency workers received the vaccine without being in any of the priority categories, according to the British daily The Guardian. There is also, says the BBC, an investigation of local authorities suspected of trying to get people ahead of the immunization campaign.
Another country grappling with various suspicions is Sweden, which is considered one of the least corrupt and most transparent in the world, as an article in the French newspaper underlines The world. The article refers to suspected cases from those responsible for vaccination centers who gave the additional doses to family members, a private health institution in Stockholm that vaccinated their bosses and administrative officials, and even the prestigious university hospital linked to the Karolinska institute, which suspended two doctors. who were part of its management for having taken the vaccine without having contact with patients.
Or, finally, the case of a support center for people with disabilities in the south of the country where 160 heads and employees of the center were vaccinated – against only 15 of the beneficiaries of the services.