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Former Peru president contracts COVID despite China's Sinopharm vaccination

Peruvian president barred from holding office after secretly taking Sinopharm vaccine in October

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Former Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra. (Reuters photo)

Former Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra. (Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former Peruvian President Marin Vizcarra on Sunday (April 26) announced that he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 — despite both taking the full regimen of China's Sinopharm vaccine shots last year, well ahead of when they were supposed to be publicly available.

On Sunday, Vizcarra, who served as Peru's president from 2018 to 2020 before being impeached, announced on Twitter that "despite taking the necessary precautions" to avoid contracting the disease, he and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19. He pledged to enter home isolation and warned the public to "not let down our guard."

In February of this year, Vizcarra was caught up in the country's "Vaccinegate," in which he was accused of receiving the Sinopharm vaccine in October of last year, well before the shot was publicly available. Vizcarra denied any wrongdoing and claimed the reason why he was able to receive the shots so early was that he and his wife volunteered to participate in the country's trials for Sinopharm's shots.

However, the institution hosting the trial, Cayetano Heredia University, denied Vizcarra's claims and said that he had asked the director of the vaccine trial directly for the jabs, according to BBC. On April 16, Peru's congress voted unanimously 86 to 0 to ban Vizcarra from holding public office for 10 years, after he was found guilty of "influence peddling, collusion and making false declarations," reported US News.

The safety of the Chinese-made shot BBIBP-CorV, an inactivated vaccine produced by China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a subsidiary of China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation (Sinopharm), has been questioned. At a conference on April 10 the Director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, conceded that Chinese vaccines "don’t have very high protection rates" and suggested the government mix them together to reach a higher efficacy rate.