Peru’s Vizcarra banned from public office over vaccine scandal | Coronavirus pandemic News

Congress approved the former president’s temporary ban on public office with 86 votes in favor and zero against.

Former Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra was unanimously banned from public office for 10 years by the country’s Congress after allegedly queuing for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Vizcarra was found guilty of peddling, collusion and misrepresentation in connection with Peru’s VIP vaccine scandal, in which many ministers and officials were given Sinopharm vaccines before they were publicly available in the country.

Congress approved its temporary ban on public office with 86 votes in favor and zero votes against.

It also disqualified former Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti from holding public office for eight years; and former Secretary of State Elizabeth Astete for one year.

Both former ministers received the vaccine and resigned during the subsequent scandal. However, all three have denied using their positions to gain early access to vaccines.

Vizcarra said in February that he and his wife were vaccinated as volunteers for the Sinopharm trial in Peru in October last year – a claim the university that hosted the trial denied.

The former president took office in March 2018 with a promise to curb endemic corruption in public office and ruled the country until he was indicted by Congress on separate corruption charges last November, which he continued to deny.

He was due to take a seat in Congress after the Peruvian election over the weekend after receiving the highest number of votes for a legislature.

Sinopharm’s clinical trials in Peru took place between September and the end of 2020 with around 12,000 volunteers. In addition, the trial’s local managers received 3,200 additional doses for staff associated with the research, host university Cayetano Heredia said.

Peru faces a second round of elections in June. Right-wing presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori meets socialist Pedro Castillo, a hitherto little-known union leader and teacher who shocked the Andean nation with 19.1 percent of the vote in the first round of elections last Sunday.