Journal of International Oral Health

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year
: 2021  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 310--311

Vacunagate scandal and its possible impact on the vaccination against COVID-19 of health professionals in Peru


Frank Mayta-Tovalino1, Arnaldo Munive-Degregori2, Roman Mendoza3, Daniel Alvitez-Temoche3,  
1 CHANGE Research Working Group, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad Científica del Sur, Lima, Peru
2 Department of Rehabilitative Stomatology, Faculty of Dentistry, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru
3 Faculty of Dentistry, Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal, Lima, Peru

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Frank Mayta-Tovalino
Department of Postgraduate in Health of Science, Lima.
Peru




How to cite this article:
Mayta-Tovalino F, Munive-Degregori A, Mendoza R, Alvitez-Temoche D. Vacunagate scandal and its possible impact on the vaccination against COVID-19 of health professionals in Peru.J Int Oral Health 2021;13:310-311


How to cite this URL:
Mayta-Tovalino F, Munive-Degregori A, Mendoza R, Alvitez-Temoche D. Vacunagate scandal and its possible impact on the vaccination against COVID-19 of health professionals in Peru. J Int Oral Health [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 6 ];13:310-311
Available from: https://www.jioh.org/text.asp?2021/13/3/310/318458


Full Text

The term “Vacunagate” was used by the different Peruvian media in allusion to one of the biggest political scandals in the United States in the 1970s that even caused the resignation of the North American president of that time. Vacunagate refers to the irregular vaccination processes carried out by high officials of the Peruvian State. It all began on February 10, 2021, when the Peruvian journalist publicly denounced in a television program that the ex-President of Peru along with his wife and brother had been vaccinated in irregular conditions in October 2020, including when clinical trials in the country were still under development.[1],[2],[3],[4]

Later, as the investigations progressed, it was found that approximately 487 people among public officials and people of high economic power received the Chinese Sinopharn vaccine. These unethical acts of receiving the vaccine even before health science professionals facing the pandemic on the front lines against COVID-19 would have criminal consequences. Among the senior officials were the rectors of the universities that conducted clinical trials in the country, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of Health, among others.[3],[4]

This irregular act has come at a high cost, since the Health Minister and the Foreign Minister resigned their positions and are being investigated by the nation’s prosecutor’s office. The new Minister of Health reported that of the 3200 “courtesy vaccines” granted by the Sinopharn Laboratory, 1200 doses were delivered to the Chinese Embassy. This means that there are 2000 vaccines that need to be investigated and specially to know who was secretly vaccinated. The Peruvian population is extremely angry due to poor sanitary management by the authorities, and this is reflected by the fact that Peru is one of the countries with the highest indicators of infected in Latin America, with an approximate of 44,000 deaths according to the Center Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.[1],[2],[3],[4]

On the contrary, the administrative council of the Colegio Odontológico del Peru (COP), an institution that represents more than 45,000 Peruvian dentists, urgently demands that the profession be considered as high risk, which is why they request that the vaccination of all dentists be prioritized, both from the private and public sectors of the country. In the same way, contemplating within the informational campaigns on prevention of COVID-19, the program “Healthy mouth less COVID-19” is put into operation with the aim of mitigating the risk of contagion in the population using mouthwashes based on chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride.[2]

Finally, the panorama of the vaccination schedule in the country is still uncertain as the delivery of 1 million vaccines has only been made effective for a country that has more than 33 million inhabitants. The Minister of Health considered that there should be no doubts about the integrity of the negotiations for the purchase of vaccines.

In addition, he indicated that the respective contracts are being made with some laboratories such as AztraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, among others. Therefore, he asks the Peruvian population to remain calm and hopes that they will be vaccinated during 2021.[3],[4]

The behavior of professionals who have dared to deviate from ethical obligations, causing mistrust and health insecurity in the population, is alarming. Oral health professionals are highly exposed to the contagion of COVID-19 and as a result of this political scandal, the dental community has shown an ethical and academic shock when knowing the complicity of the highest health authorities.

This coup suggests rethinking the principles and values; therefore, the Colegio Odontológico del Peru is processing round tables, spaces for reflection with the authorities to make an urgent vaccination schedule that covers all Peruvian dentists.

Acknowledgements

We wish to thank Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos and Universidad Cientifica del Sur.

Financial support and sponsorship

None to declare.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

Author contributions

Study conception was made by AMD, RM, DAT, and FMT.

Ethical policy and Institutional Review board statement

This project was exempted from ethical approval as it was a letter to the editor.

Patient declaration of consent

Not applicable.

Data availability statement

Not applicable.

References

1Chauvin L. Peruvian COVID-19 vaccine scandal spreads. Lancet 2021;397:783.
2Colegio Odontologico del Peru. Available from: http://www.cop.org.pe/ [accessed March 2, 2021].
3CNN International. Available from: https://edition.cnn.com/2021/02/15/americas/peru-covid-vaccine-scandal-intl/index.html [accessed March 2, 2021].
4Facultad de Letras. Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. Available from: https://letras.unmsm.edu.pe/blog/apuntes/vacunagate-dos-problemas-eticos/ [accessed March 2, 2021].