Vaccine line-cutting scandals challenge Latin American authorities

ministro zevallos cut line
In Ecuador, Juan Carlos Zevallos faces heat for vaccinating his family first. Photo: Teranbryan Ecu/Shutterstock

Vaccination began in Latin America last month, reaching over 1.5 million people, with all countries starting by inoculating their health workers. In multiple nations, however, authorities have faced accusations of using their status to cut in line and receive vaccines early.

  • Ecuador: lawmakers call for the resignation of Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos after his relatives were vaccinated despite not being on the government’s priority list for immunization. The shots administered to Mr. Zevallos’ family reportedly came from a public hospital in Quito, leading Congress to pass a motion asking President Lenín Moreno to replace him.
  • Brazil: state prosecutors in Amazonas requested the removal and arrest of Manaus Mayor David Almeida, who took office on January 1. City officials reportedly cut ahead in the vaccine queue, while the city experiences a health collapse due to a spike in coronavirus cases and a lack of oxygen supplies in local hospitals.
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