With files from the Associated Press
An unlicensed clinic in the Ecuador’s capital Quito offered clients what it falsely claimed to be a $15-per-dose vaccine against Covid-19. The place was raided and shut down by authorities this week.
The clandestine clinic, which was raided by Quito police and other relevant agencies on Tuesday, was officially listed as a “spa and slimming massage salon,” but instead offered unlicensed medical services, the city security chief Cesar Diaz told the media.
With the Covid-19 outbreak ravaging the country, the establishment, which was located in the south of the city, added a “vaccine” against the disease to its list of treatments and sold an estimated 70,000 doses before getting busted.
🔴 AHORA| Con apoyo de @PoliciaEcuador @Arcsa_Ec @Acess_Ec @SeguridadeQuito @amcquito intervenimos en un centro no autorizado de atención de pacientes de Covid-19 en el sector Caupicho, en el distrito Quitumbe. El establecimiento fue clausurado por las autoridades. pic.twitter.com/pxzOg6HfcM
— Intendencia de Policía Pichincha (@Inten_Pichincha) January 26, 2021
What exactly the gullible recipients were injected with is yet to be determined by lab tests. The fake vaccine was offered at $15 per dose, with a course of three doses supposedly giving full immunity. Two chaser injections of a purported ‘cleansing’ drug and a ‘multivitamin’ were given after the main ‘treatment’ for an additional $100. The woman running the clinic claimed to be a specialist in alternative medicine, but had no formal medical degree.
AHORA | Clausuramos un centro médico clandestino donde se ofrecía una “vacuna” para el COVID-19 sin ningún tipo de funcionamiento o permiso de las entidades competentes. Se inició el proceso sancionador a los dueños de este negocio. #NoTeRelajes pic.twitter.com/RfZsJLXKUt
— AMC Quito (@amcquito) January 26, 2021
“They were playing with the emotion, with the pain, with the feeling of impotence that people have, to sell this substance,” Diaz said.
Ecuador has approved two vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech’s and AstraZeneca’s – for its national immunization against Covid-19, with two more products being considered. The government plans to roll out the effort in March, promising to vaccinate nine million adults for free by the end of the year.