Moldovan President Says Vaccines Improperly Diverted To Officials' Relatives

Moldovan President Maia Sandu has said that almost 700 doses of COVID-19 vaccines intended for health-care workers and the critically vulnerable have instead been diverted to public officials and family members, including employees of the Defense Ministry and regional authorities,

"A first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech has been given to 688 people in the 'relatives' category," Sandu told Moldova's Jurnal TV on March 31.

Moldova, one of Europe's poorest countries, has lagged behind the rest of the continent in the vaccination campaign and welcomed donations from friendly governments.

The first batch of 14,400 doses of Pfizer vaccines from the global COVAX scheme arrived in Moldova last month. So far, the country of 4.5 million has received 110,970 doses of various vaccines.

Sandu said Health Ministry data showed that doses went to hundreds of ineligible people from the Defense Ministry, regional officials' relatives, and even doctors' families.

"This is shameful and it discourages our efforts to obtain more vaccine donations from abroad," Sandu said.