Empty syringes spark new vaccine scandal in Peru

Empty syringes vaccine scandal Peru
Vaccine rollouts in Callao, Lima. Photo: Anthony Mujica Viera/Shutterstock

Having distributed only 2.2 million shots since February, Peru’s vaccination effort is progressing at a snail’s pace, made even worse by a line-cutting scandal involving high-ranked authorities. Now, the country faces a new controversy, with reports of health workers administering “fake jabs,” using empty syringes to simulate inoculations. A similar event occurred in Brazil in February.

Peruvian authorities announced it would launch an investigation into the reports this week. Interim President Franciso Sagasti called the scandal “worrisome and criminal.”

Peru has the world’s 14th-highest coronavirus death rate — with nearly 2,000 deaths per million, according to big data portal World-o-Meter. In Latin America, only Brazil’s per capita mortality rate is higher.