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Covid vaccine dose. Photo by Efe
Covid vaccine dose. Photo by Efe

'Air vaccines' scandal in Brazil

Health personnel in Brazil reportedly gave "air vaccines" to the elderly during the coronavirus vaccination campaign.

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This weekend, the scandal of the fake vaccination of the elderly against Covid-19 in Brazil was uncovered. Three videos recorded by the relatives of the elderly who were to receive the vaccines in different cities of the country clearly show the deception.

It is feared that these videos are the tip of the iceberg and that this practice has spread throughout the country to divert the doses that were not used in these older adults. The possibility of this or any other irregularity by health professionals is already being investigated by the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro, an institution that issued a statement in which it points out that, if this is proven, the health personnel involved would be charged for embezzlement with penalties of up to 12 years in prison.

The three cases that have gone viral on social networks happened in Rio de Janeiro and Niteroi. In the three videos, it can be seen that the nurses in charge of applying the vaccine doses to the elderly use an empty syringe. In Petrópolis (Rio de Janeiro), the nurse has already been suspended, although she assures it was an unintentional mistake.

In Niteroi, the police have charged the nurse with embezzlement. "The analysis of the video makes it clear that she was aware that she was not administering the vaccine, even because she was alerted and questioned by the family and responded ironically," explained commissioner Luiz Henrique Pereira to Brazilian media.

The local government has stated that these are isolated events. "We understand that it is a fault. We do not want to take it to the side of the slander that they are raising," said the secretary of health of the municipality, Aloísio Barbosa Filho. However, after the news, the vaccination protocol has been reinforced to prevent "air vaccines" from becoming a recurrent practice.

With an average of 1,000 deaths per day, at the peak of the second wave of the pandemic and one of the countries most affected by Covid-19, Brazil faces a new obstacle during the vaccination campaign.  With only 2% of the population immunized to date, the regional giant fears that the health crisis could worsen even more due to the lack of Covid vaccine doses.

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