Peru: Vaccinegate

A new scandal in the midst of the crisis

By Alberto Giovanelli

With 1.5 million infected and almost 45,000 deaths, Peru is one of the countries most affected by the pandemic in Latin America.

In this context, and with an ongoing institutional crisis, a new scandal that, this time around, includes several high officials of the new Sagasti government, outrages and mobilizes the population. What happened is that around 500 privileged people abused a Chinese clinical trial to get vaccinated against the coronavirus long before the majority of the population, which has generated a wave of unrest because of the use of influences to apply the vaccine in October while 12,000 essential employees only began to receive it in February of 2021.

When the scandal broke out, it was revealed that former President Martín Vizcarra had received two doses of the vaccine against covid-19 from the Chinese company Sinopharm, while still in charge of the government and the clinical study was being carried out in the country. What at first seemed an issue that would affect only the outgoing government, soon involved the interim government of Francisco Sagasti as well.

As the list of those who received the vaccine became known, Minister of Health Mazzetti, Chancellor Astete and several officials of those ministries, as well as family and friends, appeared. The Ministers have already resigned, as did Luis Suarez and Victor Bocangel, former Health Ministers.

Other figures such as Alberto Fujimori’s family doctor, Antonio Aguinaga, the apostolic nuncio Nicola Girasoli, Mazzetti’s driver, the rectors of the San Marcos and Cayetano Heredia universities, as well as relatives of the doctors who participated in the clinical trial, personnel of the study, which are included in the list, stammer ridiculous explanations that do nothing more than exalt the spirits of the population against the entire traditional political class, as the April 11 elections approach.

Beyond the formal complaints from the Public Prosecutor’s Office or the investigation commissions ordered by Parliament, it is clear that only health workers are in a position to manage the provision, distribution and application of the doses of vaccines that arrive at the country.

The Peruvian scandal only confirms that the management of the health crisis in the hands of businesses and governments is a new source of corruption and injustice reveals that there is a disease much more serious than Covid, the Capitalism that in every fight for minimum demands, cruelly confronts us. There is no solution within Capitalism, a fact that should not be ignored in the upcoming debates in the electoral campaign. In the resolution of that struggle, the future of the Peruvian people will be defined to face the Covid and the rest of the capitalist pandemics.