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Long-standing corruption hinders vaccination campaign in Latin America

Long-standing corruption in Latin America has hindered vaccination campaigns and health care responses.

The big picture: These scandals include inflated prices for unusable ventilators purchased by Bolivia, price gouging for N95 masks in Argentina, and a botched acquisition of emergency field hospitals that took over six months to be operational in Honduras.

  • Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Argentina were also roiled by “Vaccine-gate”, in which politicians and their families and friends were given hush-hush early access to the first shots.

More recent uproars include the possible impeachment of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for apparent bribery for contracts to purchase two vaccines, and a murky and unfulfilled deal in Guatemala to buy millions of Sputnik V doses that were paid for but never delivered, leading to protests and calls for President Alejandro Giammattei's resignation.

Between the lines: Public hospitals were already severely underfunded, lacking equipment and medicine, when COVID-19 hit. With the pandemic, they are overwhelmed.

  • Partly to blame are the enduring consequences of diverted funds, since Latin American and Caribbean nations consistently rank as some of the most corrupt in the world.

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