Brazil to aid neighbors vaccination drives after finishing its own rollout

Brazil to aid neighbors vaccinate only after finishing its own rollout
Health workers in Mallasa, Bolivia. Photo: Radoslaw Czajkowski/Shutterstock

Brazil’s Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said that, within roughly two months, Latin America’s largest nation is set to begin helping neighboring countries roll out coronavirus vaccines. “We are worried about an uneven recovery between countries,” he said, during an event in Washington D.C.

Mr. Guedes’ pledge, however, came with one major caveat: Brazil wants to vaccinate its entire adult population with at least one dose first, before assisting other countries. “In two months, we’ll have all adults immunized and will start vaccinating our neighbors,” he said, adding that 93 percent of Brazilians over 18 have received at least one jab, with roughly 60 percent fully immunized.

Brazil’s strategy to vaccinate its own population before helping other nations emulates — on a much smaller scale — the behavior of rich countries which hoarded vaccines in the early stages of the pandemic, securing many more doses than they would need and taking too long to make an effort to help poorer nations.“

Vaccine inequity is the world’s biggest obstacle to ending this pandemic and recovering from COVID-19,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, in July.