Brazil already arguing over priority for Covid-19 vaccine

Brazil discusses priority order for Covid-19 vaccine
Image: Andrew Angelov/Shutterstock

There is still no proven vaccine to immunize people against Covid-19, but Brazilian authorities have begun discussing who will receive the hypothetical treatment first. The Health Ministry has decided the immunization order will follow the same logic as influenza vaccine campaigns, but there is some divergence on this issue.

According to newspaper O Globo, epidemiologists have criticized the decision, saying that different diseases require different strategies. They argue that at-risk groups should receive the vaccine first — unlike influenza shots, which give priority to children.

But there is also a bill currently stalled in Congress establishing the following order for immunization: health workers, senior citizens, people with pre-existing conditions, education workers, clerks at public institutions who deal with the public, journalists, and only then healthy people.

Former Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporão had pulled no punches with the government, calling out the Executive branch’s “lack of leadership,” which left the decision up to Congress — and without taking advice from doctors. 

Ricardo Gazzinelli, chairman at the Brazilian Infectious Diseases Society, points out that the order of vaccination should take high-transmission areas into account. Fernando Hellmann, a Ph.D. in collective health, says indigenous, black, and poor people receive the Covid-19 vaccine first. According to him, they have been the demographics most damaged by the virus.

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