Peru: minister resigns after vaccination scandal

Peruvian Foreign Minister Elizabeth Astete announced her resignation Sunday after admitting to having been vaccinated against COVID-19 in January, before priority populations.

• Read also: All the developments of the pandemic

She is the second Minister of the Peruvian government, after that of Health, to resign in the context of this scandal.

“I presented to the President of the Republic my letter of resignation as Minister of Foreign Affairs”, wrote Mme Astete on Twitter, admitting to having made a “serious mistake” by being vaccinated on January 22.

His resignation was immediately accepted by interim president Francisco Sagasti, who said he was “outraged and furious at this situation which endangers the efforts of many Peruvians”, in a televised statement.

The scandal erupted Thursday after a Peruvian daily revealed that former President Martin Vizcarra (2018-2020) had been vaccinated against COVID-19 in October, a few weeks before his impeachment by Parliament.

The former head of state, who is vying for a parliamentary seat in the April 11 election, defended himself by saying he had volunteered for the Sinopharm vaccine clinical trial, like thousands of others. Peruvians. What the university responsible for the trial denied.

The revelation sparked an uproar, leading to the resignation of Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti on Friday. And according to Peruvian media, a preliminary investigation has been opened by the public prosecutor.

Unlike other countries, whose presidents, ministers or officials have been vaccinated to set an example, in Peru, criticism is aimed at members of the government who received the vaccine in all discretion and even before the launch of the campaign. official vaccination.

“Personal benefit”

“It is not possible that in the midst of a crisis, one uses public office for personal benefit,” said Congress President Mirtha Vasquez, who called for an investigation and sanctions.

According to Peruvian media, many officials and officials may have been vaccinated early, Sinopharm having provided, in addition to the doses planned for the clinical trial, 2,000 additional doses for the staff responsible for the trial and members of the Peruvian government.

These speculations led several political figures on Sunday to publicly deny having been vaccinated.

The vaccination campaign started Tuesday in Peru and is currently intended for health workers.

President Sagasti, 76, received an injection in public on Tuesday and on that occasion he encouraged Peruvians to get vaccinated.

However, there is not yet a vaccination schedule for the general population, as Peru has so far received only one million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine.

According to the latest figures, Peru has recorded 43,703 deaths from COVID-19 for 1.23 million confirmed cases.

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