Illegal prospectors exchange gold for corona vaccine

The vaccination doses actually intended for the indigenous population of Roraima are said to have got into the hands of crooks. Up to 20,000 of them are believed to be in the affected area.

Illegal gold prospecting in Roraimma

UVaccination doses originally intended for vaccinating indigenous people in the northernmost Brazilian state of Roraima are said to have reached illegal gold prospectors. The Hutukara organization of the Yanomami indigenous people forwarded reports to the Ministry of Health and the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, the media reported on Tuesday (local time).

In January, 26,000 vaccine doses intended for the Yanomami had arrived in Roraima. However, a large part of it is still to be stored in cold stores in the capital Boa Vista. Up to 20,000 illegal gold prospectors are believed to be in the Yanomami indigenous territory. Some of them are said to have received vaccine in exchange for gold, according to Hutukara.

On April 8, Hutukara informed the authorities that the vaccines had been stolen. The organization holds a nurse responsible. In addition to vaccines, this is said to have also given fuel and an electricity generator for gold to the prospectors. Another nurse is said to have sold medicines to the gold prospectors for the Yanomami.

In addition, false information about the vaccinations was spread among the Yanomami, reports Hutukara. The aim is to make the indigenous peoples fear of the vaccine. Nine villages had already spoken out against vaccinations. Health authorities in Boa Vista therefore spoke out in favor of inoculating the vaccines originally intended for these indigenous people to the population in the cities.

According to media reports, 21 of the more than 26,000 Yanomami in the indigenous area have died of Covid-19 so far, and a further 23 deaths are still being investigated. The area, which was assigned to the Yanomami in 1992, is the largest reserve of indigenous peoples in Brazil with around 100,000 square kilometers.