This article first appeared in EuroNews on April 18, 2021.
The “VacunaGate” ends the political career of Martin Vizcarra. The former Peruvian president has been disqualified from holding public office for ten years for irregularly vaccinating himself against COVID-19 with the Chinese injection Sinopharm.
Congress considers that he has violated six articles of the Constitution. “In the middle of the pandemic, betraying thousands of Peruvians who were fighting in the hospitals, fighting in the streets to protect themselves, he was vaccinating himself and not only him but also his family members and his closest collaborators“, criticized Congressman Fernando Melendez of the Alliance for Progress party.
Vizcarra says that the result of the vote, with 86 votes in favor and none against, has not taken him by surprise. “We are confident that this measure will be reversed in the corresponding instances; both national and international autonomous institutions will reverse this situation.”
A second wave with 300 deaths per day
The scandal has not sat well in a country that is approaching 1.7 million cases of COVID-19. The Peruvian health system has reached its limits, forcing the government to extend the state of alarm for another month on Saturday. Forty-one provinces, including Lima, will return to the “extreme alert” situation.
For more than a year, the country has been under a night curfew from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., which has not prevented the increase of contagions, with a great peak in the last week, with an average of 300 deaths per day. A second wave of the pandemic is being driven by the more contagious Brazilian variant of the coronavirus.
The vaccination campaign that began in February has already immunized 700,000 people with at least one dose of Sinopharm and Pfizer vaccines, and an expansion of vaccination centers is planned to boost the campaign thanks to the arrival this Sunday of a first batch of 260,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, sent by the Covax Mechanism.