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Peru’s foreign minister quits over secret vaccination

Lima: Peru’s foreign minister has resigned amid an uproar over government officials being secretly vaccinated against the coronavirus before the country recently received 1 million doses for health workers facing a resurgence in the pandemic.

President Francisco Sagasti confirmed that Elizabeth Astete stepped down and told the local television channel America that Peruvians should feel “outraged and angry about this situation that jeopardises the enormous effort of many Peruvians working on the front line against COVID”.

Medical workers in Lima who say they work directly with COVID-19 patients protest they are not in line to get shots of China’s Sinopharm vaccine.

Medical workers in Lima who say they work directly with COVID-19 patients protest they are not in line to get shots of China’s Sinopharm vaccine.Credit:AP

The scandal erupted on Thursday when former President Martín Vizcarra, who was dismissed by Congress on November 9 over a corruption allegation, confirmed a newspaper report that he and his wife had secretly received shots of a vaccine from the Chinese state pharmaceutical company Sinopharm in October. Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti resigned on Friday after legislators accused her of concealing information.

Sagasti said on Twitter that during Vizcarra’s administration, an extra 2000 doses of the vaccine had been received from Sinopharm and that “some senior public officials were vaccinated”.

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