Brazilian officials warned government about vaccine disinformation

disinformation vaccine brazil
Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga launches a vaccination campaign. Photo: Marcelo Camargo/ABr

A January report by the Emergency Operations Committee — created to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic — warned the Brazilian government about the spread of disinformation on vaccines and the Health Ministry’s lack of action to set the record straight.

“It has been a consensus [within the committee] that the minister’s communication office must work on advertising strategies to [encourage] vaccination, which hasn’t happened,” says the report, obtained by Fiquem Sabendo, an organization which works for the freedom of information in Brazil. “[Vaccine-related] measures will be hindered,” it continues.

Under Eduardo Pazuello, who was Brazil’s top health official between May 2020 and March of this year, the government was an active agent of pandemic misinformation. It touted treatments with drugs that are not only ineffective against the coronavirus but can also be dangerous for certain patients.

It also created an app supposed to help doctors diagnose Covid-19 patients, but continuously recommended the same one-size-fits-all treatment. It was discontinued after a few days, following massive backlash.

The Health Ministry has not commented on the contents of the report.