Buenos Aires City prosecutor Maximiliano Vence has summoned PAMI chief Luana Volnovich for 10am this Monday to explain her accusations of vaccine irregularities in the Federal Capital.
Vence yesterday further asked both the PAMI healthcare scheme for pensioners and the City Health Ministry for the corresponding documentation.
According to PAMI sources, this documentation consists of the vaccines earmarked for the elderly covered by the national healthcare scheme within City Hall’s vaccine plan, the lists of PAMI members supplied to the municipal authorities, the dates of delivery of the syringes and the certificates marking every step.
The City Health Ministry was asked for information regarding distribution of the vaccine doses, the lists supplied PAMI and the mechanism for assigning inoculation shifts.
The sources described this as "the first steps of the investigation" formally opened late Thursday.
Volnovich triggered this case by complaining that the City vaccine centres opened by PAMI were "empty," blaming "poor logistics" on the part of City Hall, the Noticias Argentinas news agency reported.
"I cannot believe my eyes. In the City of Buenos Aires we have refrigerators bulging with refrigerators against Covid but the vaccination posts are empty. I went personally to see what was going on," the La Cámpora leader said via Twitter, recalling that last Monday PAMI had opened "three centres to vaccinate 1,200 elderly people a day."
"But do you know what, only 30 percent of the people came. Strange, no? Do you know how many appointments were assigned for tomorrow? Zero, yes zero. With hundreds of vaccines in the refrigerator," remarked Volnovich.
This prompted her to contact the people with appointments to find out what was going on, she said.
"The result? I still cannot recover from my amazement – people who had never registered, dead people, people who had no idea they had an appointment and people already vaccinated. This makes me doubt the whole City vaccination campaign. How do they assign their priorities and distribute vaccine? Why are there some elderly people still waiting after two months and others vaccinated within 48 hours? Why don’t they fix more appointments at the PAMI vaccination centres?"
Finally, Volnovich blasted City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta "for saying that he had all the logistics ready for when more vaccines arrive when I see the contrary – we have the vaccines but the City logistics are lacking."
Last month the national official had criticised Rodríguez Larreta for not permitting PAMI to participate in the City’s vaccinations against coronavirus and in the most recent meeting between President Alberto Fernández and Rodríguez Larreta this criticism was quoted by the former when the mayor asked for more vaccines to immunise more of the elderly, whereupon the President recommended PAMI being allowed to vaccinate within the City, to which Rodríguez Larreta agreed.
Yesterday Deputy Fernanda Vallejos (Frente de Todos-Buenos Aires Province) backed up Volnovich by presenting a bill expressing concern about vaccine irregularities affecting pensioners in Buenos Aires City, calling for the PAMI chief’s charges to be “duly investigated ” in court as “a threat to public health as affecting a risk group.”
PAMI officials were reported yesterday afternoon to be contacting the City Health Ministry under Fernán Quirós virtually over the charges. Quirós maintained that the "inaccuracies and erroneous data" were in the lists supplied by PAMI whereupon PAMI said it would ask the municipal authorities "to assign to the vaccination centres of our healthcare scheme only those persons voluntarily registered in the website of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires."