Vizcarra from Peru Banned from Public Service Due to Vaccine Scandal | News on the coronavirus pandemic

Congress approved the temporary ban on the former president’s public office by 86 votes in favor and zero against.

Former Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra was banned from holding public office for 10 years in a unanimous vote by the country’s congress after allegedly skipping the line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Vizcarra has been convicted of influence peddling, collusion and misrepresentation in connection with the VIP vaccine scandal in Peru, which saw many ministers and officials receive Sinopharm vaccines before they were made available to the public in the country.

Congress approved his temporary ban from the civil service by 86 votes in favor and zero against.

He also disqualified former health minister Pilar Mazzetti from public service for eight years; and former Foreign Minister Elizabeth Astete for one year.

The two former ministers received the vaccine and resigned in the ensuing scandal. However, all three denied using their position to gain early access to vaccines.

Vizcarra said in February that he and his wife were vaccinated in October of the previous year as volunteers for the Sinopharm trial in Peru – a claim rejected by the university hosting the trial.

The former president came to power in March 2018 on a pledge to tackle endemic corruption in the civil service and ruled the country until he was impeached by Congress in November last year for separate bribery charges, which he continued to deny.

He was due to take a seat in Congress after the elections in Peru this weekend, having obtained the most votes cast for a lawmaker.

Sinopharm’s clinical trials in Peru took place between September and the end of 2020 with around 12,000 volunteers. In addition, local trial officials received an additional 3,200 doses for research staff, host university Cayetano Heredia said.

Peru heads to a second round of voting for president in June, with right-wing presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori face-to-face with socialist Pedro Castillo, a hitherto little-known union leader and teacher, who shocked the Andean nation taking 19.1 percent of the vote in the first ballot last Sunday.

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