By Sally Underwood •
Published: 21 Feb 2021 • 11:54
Argentina’s New Health Minister Takes Over After Predecessor ‘Helped Friends Skip Queue’. Image: Wikimedia
Carla Vizzotti, Argentina’s new health minister, took over from Gines Gonazelez Garci after it emerged he had helped friends get the vaccine ahead of their turn.
Vizzotti, an internal medicine specialist, was sworn in by Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez at the presidential residence in a brief televised ceremony.
The new health minister, aged 48, was previously a deputy minister and was responsible for securing the Russian Sputnik V vaccine for Argentina.
Former health minister Gines Gonzalez Garci, 75, resigned earlier this week after it emerged the doctor had helped friends skip the queue for the vaccine.
The scandal broke after a journalist, Horacio Verbitsky, 71, announced on the radio that he had been able to get vaccinated in his office ahead of the general population because of his friendship with the politician.
According to media reports, other people close to the government were also vaccinated at the health ministry.
So far only health workers have been vaccinated in Argentina, and vaccinations for people aged over 70 only began on Wednesday in the province of Buenos Aires.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office has now reportedly opened an investigation.
So far Argentina has received 1.2 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine and 580,000 of Covishield from the Serum Institute of India.
The country has recorded more than two million cases of the virus and 51,000 deaths, out of a population of 44 million.
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