Ecuador's health minister resigns amidst vaccine scandal

Due to a scandal surrounding the distribution of vaccines, Ecuador's health minister, Juan Carlos Zevallos, has been forced to resign from his post. It was discovered that the former health minister granted an official from a University access to the vaccine before other priority groups. 

Ecuador has experienced up to 300,000 COVID-19 cases, and it's currently using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Ecuador's president announced his resignation on Twitter 

The former health minister's resignation was made public by the president of Ecuador via his Twitter page. President Lenin Moreno was forced to remove Zevallos from his post after his act drew heavy criticism.

Moreno showed  the resignation letter in the tweet, adding that his decision was driven by "the current political climate."  He also convinced the public that the national vaccination campaign will be allowed to carry out their duties. 

Zevallos was in charge of Ecuador's coronavirus response. His work during the pandemic did not spare him from the criticism when it was discovered that the health ministry had granted a University rector access to the vaccine ahead of frontline workers and the elderly. 

Zevallos is not the only South American minister to be embroiled in a vaccine scandal 

Other South American health ministers have been embroiled in previous vaccine scandals. Zevallos is the third South American health minister to step down from his position. 

Peru's former health minister, Pilar Mazzetti, was forced to step down earlier this month after it was discovered that he granted a group of politicians and the former president of Peru, Martin Vizcarra, access to the vaccine ahead of frontline workers. 

Argentina's health minister, Gines Gonzalez Garcia, was also forced to resign after it was discovered that he created an exclusive vaccine list that was different from the country's vaccination plan. 

Their actions have drawn sharp criticism as most South American countries are finding it difficult to procure vaccines for their people.