Bolsonaro to free up BRL 20 billion to buy vaccines

Photo: Aksentiy Volodymyr/Shutterstock

Senior officials within the Jair Bolsonaro administration are reportedly drafting a provisional decree that would free up BRL 20 billion (USD 3.9 billion) earmarked for purchasing coronavirus vaccines. This would apply to any vaccine approved by regulators, including the Chinese-made CoronaVac, which Mr. Bolsonaro has bashed on multiple occasions.

If indeed issued today, this piece of legislation will cap off a week in which the government was coaxed out of its anti-vaccine stance. After São Paulo Governor João Doria announced an immunization program for his state starting on January 25, pressure from governors and mayors forced the federal government to take action.

Still, even with the extra BRL 20 billion for vaccines, Brazil is already behind in the race to purchase shots and could be forced to wait for much longer than other countries before widespread immunization is possible. So far, Brazil has only secured 1.2 doses per capita, fewer than Peru (8.5) and Bangladesh (1.9) and only enough to vaccinate 60 percent of the population.

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