Federal prosecutor Carlos Stornelli on Wednesday asked that charges against City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and his Health Minister Fernán Quirós be investigated, following denunciations by a lawyer of City Hall having signed agreements with prepaid health schemes to carry out municipal vaccinations with a view to obtaining a privileged preference for their family and friends and the clients of private medicine, “instead of the priority groups defined by the Strategic Plan for Vaccination against Covid-19 in the Argentine Republic, approved by Resolution 2883/2020 of the national Health Ministry and established by Law 27491."
Lawyer Natalia Salvo denounced the alleged "privatisation" of the vaccination campaign to the detriment of the population at large as an abuse of authority and malfeasance.
The proposed probe now goes before Judge Ariel Lijo, accompanied by a further request for the full documentation regarding vaccination from the National Health Ministry and City Hall, including the total number of vaccines delivered.
Ironically enough, Salvo presenting these charges before Stornelli is also the legal spearhead of the illegal espionage accusations against the federal prosecutor, lodged in the name of the rancher Pedro Etchebest.
Salvo has asked City Hall to provide full information on the total of vaccines received, the vaccination centres assigned and the number of doses inoculated among other details, as well as checking the software determining the vaccination shifts, among other details.
In her view, a suitable punishment for both Rodríguez Larreta and Quirós would be them being barred from public office for up to two years.
Opposition leaders criticised the claims. Former president Mauricio Macri sprang to the Mayor’s defence, calling his vaccination plan "transparent, fair and equitable" in contrast to the "favouritism" shown elsewhere.
"I’m sure that this unfair denunciation against the City will finally serve to show the differences between the 'VIP vaccinations' at the national Health Ministry and the equitable, neutral and effective organisation done by City Hall.
“The best way of tackling these vaccinations is how the City is doing it, combining the efforts of the public and private sectors to give the citizenry the most rapid and effective solutions, always with transparency," concluded Macri.
City Hall commenced the second phase of its plan last Monday with the inoculation of those aged over 80 at 29 centres with 180 vaccination booths, also signing agreements with seven prepaid health schemes and union-run healthcare funds (obras sociales) to look after their clients on the argument (as sources told Perfil) that these institutions “are also part of the health system and it’s a way of multiplying vaccinations.”
According to the City Health Ministry, all prepaid health schemes and obras sociales were approached but so far only seven have agreed to join in this strategy.