Researchers gave shots to politicians and family members, violating trial regulations — and damaging public trust.
A clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccines in Peru has sparked outrage and triggered a series of high-profile resignations at universities and in government. Politicians, researchers and some of their family members who were not enrolled as trial participants nevertheless received vaccines — breaching standard protocols. Investigations are ongoing as the country struggles to inoculate its general population with limited doses.
Perhaps in a different time and context, this story may have struggled for attention beyond the clinical and academic press. But we’re in a time when the majority of people are being asked to wait patiently for their turn to receive a vaccine dose, the outrage when trial protocols are broken and doses are given to the powerful (and their families) is no surprise.
Days later, it emerged that a group of around 470 other people — including 100 high-profile individuals such as Peru’s minister of health and Vizcarra’s wife and brother — also got a jab while the trial was in progress. The shots came from a batch of about 2,000 doses that Peruvian officials reportedly negotiated with Sinopharm to protect the medical staff running the trial.