Argentina’s health minister Carla Vizzotti said on Friday she had tested positive for COVID-19 and would quarantine for several days. Vizzotti, a week on the job, replaced former minister Gines Gonzalez Garcia who resigned following reports that VIPs in Argentina had jumped the line to receive vaccination shots early.
President Alberto Fernandez´s chief of staff Santiago Cafiero said he too would quarantine as a precaution after recent meetings with Vizzotti.
Argentines have been growing more frustrated with a slow-moving vaccination program wrought with scandal. Since December, Argentina has been using primarily Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to inoculate frontline health workers, and deliveries have lagged far behind initial pledges by the government of President Alberto Fernandez and vice-president Cristina Kirchner.
The country has also recently received deliveries from Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm, as well as the Indian Serum Institute of COVISHIELD, its brand name for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
But those latest deliveries were quickly overshadowed by reports and government acknowledgements that revealed family members of prominent politicians had received early vaccinations.
Vizzotti has pledged greater transparency in the program, while the Attorney for Administrative Investigations has opened a file to look into whether there were any abuses of power.
Argentina has so far reported 2.1 million cases of COVID-19 since March of 2020, and more than 51,000 deaths from the disease.