With the spread of COVID-19, scientists from around the world began a race for a vaccine to end the pandemic. In Argentina, on February 18, it was made known an illegal circuit of vaccination that included public officers and those persons close to government officers. This situation was a political and social scandal resulting in the resignation of the Minister of Health, Ginés González García.
As the investigation continued in a speed never seen before, vaccines became a topic of the public agenda, creating confusion to the general public, who lack knowledge about the subject and are eagerly waiting for a vaccine. To clarify the situation, LA NACION developed a strategy to exhaustively monitor the vaccination campaign and also presented explanatory pieces with advances, effectiveness, safety and a massive operation of application.
The interactive pieces focused on vaccines’ investigations, describing the investigation process of each one of them and the platforms (technologies) they use. Considering it is a topical issue and, therefore, very volatile, a section was especially designed for breaking news to keep our readers updated on the latest developments and news of each vaccine.
Given this context, with the uncertainty of the arrival of doses and the lack of transparency in the Government negotiations and contracts with some laboratories, LA NACION proposed to closely follow the campaign advances, order the information received for its audience and require the publicity of data. Moreover, it was also important to add value by making unique projections and analysis with public data and other data from investigations and accesses requests to public information.
STRATEGY & IMPACT
Our main strategy was to differentiate ourselves and create added value considering that the rest of the editorial departments addresses the same topic, together with demand for transparency in negotiations and purchase of vaccines and the opening of data in the number of applications, distribution and arrival to the country.
For this purpose, a dashboard was made with the follow-up of the advance of the vaccine campaign throughout the country with detail of first and second doses applied per jurisdiction, priority group ‒since the initial plan does not include the total number of persons older than 18 years‒ and laboratory. In turn, given the controversy for the few number of doses arriving to the country, said arrival was manually monitored ‒as information is not structured and accessible‒ and it was compared to those distributed and applied per jurisdiction (there are differences among the steps).
LA NACION made different investigation pieces: analysis of the inequality in the application to risk populations due to dose distribution of the Government and historical analysis of the platform used to register calendar vaccines in our country, that was used to register the COVID-19 doses applied. As regards the first piece, it was confirmed that, based on dose distribution to provinces according to a total population and not according to population effectively to be vaccinated, certain provinces closed to Government were benefited, in detriment to others, such as the City of Buenos Aires, one of the districts more beaten by the pandemic. As regards the second piece, for the first time in Argentina, there was a request of access to public information to the registry of dose application from 2009 to 2020. After comparing it with the calendar vaccine purchase, it was found that there are no exact registries of the number of vaccines applied and the numbers informed at an international level, are those distributed to the provinces.
Furthermore, the illegal vaccine circuit ‒VIP vaccine center‒ was investigated, after accessing ‒thanks to another access request to public information‒ to dose distribution to the agencies depending from the national Government and their warehouses. This could be compared to the official version and it could be confirmed that this did not match with the packing slips and that subsequent shipments had been made after the scandal to other agencies depending from the State.
LA NACION created a special platform with an end of vaccination projection on each district, taking into account the rhythm of dose application on each jurisdiction as parameter.
HOW MANY PEOPLE WORKED ON THIS PROJECT OR WHAT IS YOUR BEST ESTIMATE?
Approximately, twenty persons worked on this project among different productions selected for this category.
WHAT WAS THE TOTAL PROJECT BUDGET OR YOUR BEST ESTIMATE?
Productions were made by LA NACION teams without any need of an extra budget