Prosecutors in Ecuador shed light on vaccine scandal

Police officer in Ecuador. Photo: Lidiya Ribakova/Shutterstock
Police officer in Ecuador. Photo: Lidiya Ribakova/Shutterstock

Federal prosecutors in Ecuador carried out a search and seizure warrant inside the Health Ministry, as part of an investigation into illegalities regarding the country’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

Investigators seek a “complete list” naming all authorities involved in a vaccine line-cutting scandal which led to the resignation of Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos on February 26. Mr. Zevallos admitted to benefitting his relatives with vaccines, going against the country’s immunization timetable. However, it is believed that many people are part of the scam. 

The new heads of the Health Ministry say they will cooperate with investigators. So far, Ecuador has vaccinated over 120,000 people — less than 1 percent of its population. The government reports a total of 305,000 coronavirus cases and 16,300 confirmed deaths. 

Ecuador’s pandemic response marred by scandals 

Health ministers have also been axed for vaccine-related scandals in Argentina and Peru. Across the continent, only seven out of 20 countries have yet to fire their Health Minister during the pandemic.

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