Peru probes 'empty' jabs, finds no evidence of Covid-19 vaccine black market

A healthcare worker prepares to administer the Pfizer vaccine to a woman during a mass vaccination programme for the elderly, in Lima, Peru April 16, 2021. ― Reuters file pic
A healthcare worker prepares to administer the Pfizer vaccine to a woman during a mass vaccination programme for the elderly, in Lima, Peru April 16, 2021. ― Reuters file pic

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LIMA, May 15 ― A probe into reports that people who sat for coronavirus vaccinations in Peru were jabbed with empty syringes, found no evidence of any scam, the government said yesterday.

A four-day investigation found no evidence that the unused vaccine doses were being squirreled away for resale on the black market, deputy health minister Gustavo Rosell said.

“We have lost none (vaccines) so far,” the minister insisted.

Peru opened a probe Tuesday after three reported cases in which “apparently, the syringes to be used for vaccination did not contain a dose against Covid-19,” the ministry said at the time.

The matter came to light when a person accompanying a nun to her vaccination appointment in Lima, and filmed it, realised the syringe being used was empty.

The companion objected, at which point the nurse loaded the dose of Pfizer vaccine.

Footage of the alleged incident was published on social media on Monday, followed by reports of two other, similar incidents in the capital.

Questioned by investigators, the three nurses blamed “human error,” according to the official report of the probe.

Peru, a country of 33 million people, has registered some 1.8 million coronavirus infections and more than 65,000 deaths.

Its vaccination campaign, using doses from drugmakers Sinopharm, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, has had a slow start, with about 2.3 per cent of the population having received two doses to date.

The campaign is still focusing on people older than 70. ― AFP

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