Supreme Court to question Bolsonaro on mandatory vaccination

Supreme Court Lewandowski
Supreme Court Justice Ricardo Lewandowski. Photo: Marcelo Camargo/ABr

Supreme Court Justice Ricardo Lewandowski has asked his peers to analyze whether Covid-19 vaccination programs should be made mandatory in Brazil. The court will weigh in on the issue after three opposition parties filed lawsuits in response to President Jair Bolsonaro’s decision to jettison the purchase of 46 million doses of a potential vaccine from China.

Justice Lewandowski opted for a fast-track trial, and will ask the government to present its plan regarding Covid-19 vaccination programs “providing there is scientific evidence supporting immunizations.”

The opposition has reacted to the president’s recent anti-vaxxer stance. He has said that “no one can force anyone to get a vaccine” and cast doubt over the efficacy of potential coronavirus vaccines. 

The three lawsuits filed against the government:

  • One requests that any piece of legislation saying vaccines are not mandatory should be declared unconstitutional. (In Brazil, families are denied a number of public services if their children are not up to date with their shots.)
  • Another wants to grant states and municipalities autonomy to impose immunization. (Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that local administrations were responsible for deciding on Covid-19-related lockdowns.)
  • The third wants to force the government to honor the deal to purchase 46 million doses of the CoronaVac vaccine from China, which Mr. Bolsonaro voided hours after it was announced.