Peru to investigate ‘empty syringes’ vaccination scandal

LIMA, Peru – The Peruvian Ministry of Health announced Tuesday that it was investigating nurses who are alleged to have tried to vaccinate patients with empty syringes during the country’s coronavirus vaccination campaign.

The ministry said the three known cases were reported in the capital during a campaign that began in March to use more than 2 million shots.

“These three cases are fully identified, both people and locations,” said Arturo Granados, spokesman for the Ministry of Health. He declined to identify the nurses involved, saying the results of an investigation would be released on Thursday.

Authorities have provided no motive for the allegedly incorrect vaccinations, although President Francisco Sagasti said Tuesday that it is “something very worrying and, in some cases, could even be criminal”.

Miguel Olave told the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio that his mother, Margarita Moreno, was vaccinated on April 30 at a sports center in Lima and they noticed that the nurse first tried to vaccinate her with an empty syringe. After objecting, the nurse swapped the syringe for one with a vaccine.

The empty syringe cases follow another scandal in Peru that exploded after it was revealed that nearly 500 privileged people were secretly vaccinated, including then-President Martín Vizcarra, his wife and Pope Francis’ diplomatic representative in Peru Nicola Girasoli.

Peru has only vaccinated about 2 percent of its population to date, including those over 80, doctors, and health workers who treated Covid-19 patients. Delays in vaccine use have resulted in many wealthy or powerful Peruvians traveling to the United States to receive vaccines.

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