Spain’s chief of the defense staff resigned on Saturday, the armed forces said, after a row over him getting the coronavirus vaccination despite not being on a priority list.
General Miguel Angel Villarroya’s resignation came as a scandal brews over Spanish military and political officials getting early vaccinations supposedly reserved for health workers and people in retirement homes.
“In order to preserve the image of the armed forces, General Villarroya today presented his resignation request to the defense minister,” the armed forces said in a statement.
The 63-year-old general was quoted as saying he had “never intended to take advantage of unjustifiable privileges.”
His resignation was accepted by Defense Minister Margarita Robles, a source told AFP.
His departure came just a day after the interior ministry sacked a lieutenant-colonel who served as a staff liaison to the civil guard, because an internal report found he had received the shot without being a priority.
The report accuses several other defense staff members of improperly receiving the vaccine, and Robles has warned more resignations could follow.
Politicians have also resigned over receiving the vaccine out of turn, including Manuel Villegas, health adviser for the southeast Murcia region.
But Javier Guerreron, health advisor to the Spanish north African enclave of Ceuta, refused to resign, saying he had not violated any protocol.
“I didn’t want to be vaccinated,” he said, adding that he “doesn’t like vaccines.”
Spain has been hard-hit by the pandemic, having recorded 55,441 deaths from nearly 2.5 million cases so far.
Coronavirus: Spain’s elderly get second COVID-19 shot as infection rates soarFaced with new record infection rates, Spain has begun giving second shots of coronavirus vaccines to elderly nursing home residents, while a court in ... Coronavirus
Coronavirus: Spain will administer two doses of BioNTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccineSpain’s central health authority will continue to recommend administering two doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine in the period indicated by its ... Coronavirus
Coronavirus: Spain to keep registry of people who refuse COVID vaccineSpain will set up a registry of people who refuse to be vaccinated against the new coronavirus and share it with other European Union member states, ... Coronavirus
Coronavirus: Spain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia lauds COVID-19 vaccine effortsSpain’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Alvaro Iranzo Gutierrez, has lauded the Kingdom’s efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, saying that citizens ... Coronavirus