The Thursday, February 18, a commission of doctors and technicians from the Posadas Hospital traveled to the Ministry of Health to vaccinate 10 people upon request, according to the hospital’s inspector, who declared in court, Alberto Maceira, of the former minister Ginés González García.
Maceira and the head of vaccination at the hospital, Maria Elena BordaThey went up a private elevator used only by the highest-ranking officials to the second floor of the building, where the minister’s office is.
Even though the building has a vaccination system installed on the fifth floor – to give the flu vaccine to the employees – the guests were immunized in the anteroom of the minister’s office, where they entered one by one.
That Thursday, Senator Jorge Taiana, Congressman Eduardo Valdés, and journalist Horacio Verbitsky were vaccinated along with other friends of González García. On the list of ten people were the owner of the newspaper La Capital de Mar del Plata and several hotels, Florencio Aldrey Iglesias, along with three of his relatives; the doctor Salomón Schatcher, the businessman Seza Manukian and Félix Guille.
Horacio Verbitsky, journalist,
The Friday 19 in the morning, warned by government officials that Clarion was investigating the existence of the VIP vaccination since the day before, Verbitsky decided to have many details how it got on that list. He said that he asked González García to be vaccinated, explained that the then minister told him to go to the Posadas Hospital – the place where dozens of officials, friends and relatives of officials were vaccinated– and added that, also at the request of González García’s private secretary, he ended up getting vaccinated on the second floor of Health.
That friday afternoon Clarion He published the note on which he had been working since Thursday, and revealed that, in addition to Verbitsky – who had already incriminated himself – Taiana and Valdés had also gone through the VIP Health vaccination program. A few hours later, Clarín published the complete list.
Ginés González García, former Minister of Health, along with his successor in office, Carla Vizzotti. AFP
That same day, the Government announced that the Chief of Staff, Santiago Cafiero, had asked Ginés González García to resign. At night, he announced that his successor would be Carla Vizzotti.
The Saturday 20, Vizzotti took over as the new minister at the Quinta de Olivos. The scandal continued to grow with the hours, when new cases of people related to the ruling party who were vaccinated irregularly became known. Among them, were the father and in-laws of the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Sergio Massa, and the Minister of Economy, Martin Guzman.
The Sunday 21, President Alberto Fernández traveled to Mexico on official visit. Due to the scandal, Taiana and Valdés, who were going to travel, were deleted from the list.
The Monday 22, with Fernández already in Mexico, the president of that country, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, says that in his country officials will not have privileges to be vaccinated before the rest of the citizens. The mexican too canceled a visit he planned to make with Fernández to the laboratory where COVID-19 vaccines are produced.
In Buenos Aires, the new Minister of Health said that was unaware of the operation at the Ministry of Health and also affirms that there was no VIP vaccination. Shortly afterwards, the agency released a list of 70 officials, friends and relatives of officials who were vaccinated with Posadas personnel. There is, for example, the Treasury Attorney, Carlos Zannini, and his wife. Also figure Jorge Topo Devoto, friend of Cristina Kirchner. They are also the former president Eduardo Duhalde and his family and dozens of middle and lower hierarchy officials from various ministries, including Health and Economy, as well as ambassadors Daniel scioli Y Sunday Peppo.
The list is partial, because it does not contain the dozens of officials, friends and relatives of officials who were not vaccinated by Posadas personnel. The vice president Cristina Kirchner, who received the two doses of the Sputnik V vaccine at the Perón de Avellaneda Hospital, does not appear there. Neither is the Minister of Territorial Development and Habitat, Jorge Ferraresi, who also tried to get vaccinated in Avellaneda. Not all the governors and mayors of the country who were vaccinated in their districts are not there.
That day, the President said that he considered that with the replacement of the minister and with the dissemination of that list, it was already done. “all that had to be done” regarding the VIP vaccination. His intention was to encapsulate the conflict in order to closed the episode.
East Tuesday 23, the President changed his decision and, visibly upset, said that the complaints about the existence of VIP vaccinations are “a clown“.” I would like Argentina to work in another way. Clearly, when I took note of what had happened, I reacted and lost a minister. I have read that they have made a complaint. The fact is serious enough for a minister of the stature of Ginés to have had to leave his post, but let’s end the antics. I ask the prosecutors and judges to do what they must, “he said.
President Alberto Fernández with his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. AFP
In turn, the chief of staff, Santiago Cafiero, said that the notes on the VIP vaccination are “an invention of the media” and defended officials of various ranks who agreed to the vaccine despite the fact that they are outside the ages and risk groups in the pandemic. He defended them saying that they are “strategic officials”, although he did not clarify what strategy he was referring to.
In the afternoon, the controller of the Posadas, Maceira, testified before federal judge María Eugenia Capuchetti -who is carrying out one of the 15 judicial investigations that were opened on the subject- and confirmed all the revelations of Clarion and other media on the vaccination operation in the Ministry of Health.