São Paulo pressures federal government with own vaccination plan

coronavac vaccine brazil
Governor João Doria (center) shows the CoronaVac. Photo: GOVESP

São Paulo Governor João Doria announced his state’s Covid-19 vaccination plan, forecasting the start of immunization on January 25, the anniversary of the city of São Paulo. Mr. Doria’s plan involves using the Chinese-made CoronaVac vaccine, which has yet to be cleared for use by Brazilian federal health regulators Anvisa. 

What is behind. With this question mark hanging over the potential vaccine, today’s plan serves to increase pressure on the federal government — a nationwide vaccination program is only expected to start in March next year, as announced by the Health Ministry.

  • “Why start vaccinating Brazilians in March if we can do it in January? We are losing 600-plus lives every day,” said Mr. Doria. “The vaccine cannot be postponed,” he added.

Who gets it first. Health workers and citizens aged 60 or over will have priority, along with vulnerable populations such as indigenous people and residents of traditional former slave communities known as quilombos.

Regulation. To go ahead with any CoronaVac immunization plan, however, the São Paulo state government must get clearance from health regulator Anvisa. “In the fight for life, there is no space for denialism,” said Mr. Doria, in a clear dig at President Jair Bolsonaro — who dismissed the severity of Covid-19 on multiple occasions.

  • Since the pandemic hit Brazil, Mr. Doria has staged a rhetoric war against Mr. Bolsonaro — with each trying to use the pandemic to their own political advantage. In a recent interview, Mr. Doria admitted that spearheading a successful state-level vaccination program would make him a more competitive presidential hopeful.
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