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World

Chile vets accused of using dog coronavirus vaccines on people

  • The first Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Chile months later, in December.
21 Apr 2021

SANTIAGO: Two veterinarians in Chile are under investigation for allegedly giving dog coronavirus vaccines to at least 75 people in the months before human jabs arrived in the country, health officials said Tuesday.

The pair stand accused of having administered vaccines developed against canine coronavirus, which is not the same as the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the global human pandemic, to people in the city of Calama in Chile's north.

Questions first arose last September, when visiting health officials noted workers at a veterinary clinic in Calama operating without masks. Questioned, they claimed they had been vaccinated by a local veterinarian.

The first Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Chile months later, in December.

It later transpired another vet had given the canine vaccine to more people.

"This is very dangerous," health secretary Rossana Diaz of the Antofagaste region told broadcaster 24horas.

"There are studies saying that the effects in humans can be local, as in irritation... or systemic," she added.

The two cases came to light this week when health officials reported to prosecutors that the vets had failed to pay the fines they had been given.

The Seremi public health authority said at least 75 people had received the dog inoculations, including health workers and miners.

Chile has so far given at least one dose of an approved SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to some 7.7 million people, out of a 15.2 million target population.

The country has registered 1.13 million coronavirus infections and more than 25,000 deaths.