Mandatory vaccination does not mean coercion, says Prosecutor General

Prosecutor General: Mandatory vaccination does not mean coercion
Supreme Court in session. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR

Prosecutor General Augusto Aras argued in favor of making Covid-19 vaccination mandatory. His opinion was heard during a historic Supreme Court trial over how the government should proceed with regard to coronavirus immunization.

“Human dignity […] is not compromised by making vaccination mandatory. Voting is mandatory, but voters are not forcefully taken to polling stations,” he said. “Mandatory vaccination does not mean coercion nor using physical strength to force people to take shots.”

President Jair Bolsonaro has turned the subject of vaccination into a new culture war in Brazil, recycling an argument used by the American anti-vax movement, according to which citizens must be free to choose not to be immunized. Meanwhile, the president’s main political foe, São Paulo Governor João Doria, has already pledged to make the vaccine mandatory in his state.

The Supreme Court may settle the issue in the next few days, as justices analyze multiple cases with a direct impact on Covid-19 vaccination. Among them, there are class-action lawsuits against mandatory immunization. Another case asks the court to grant state governments the jurisdiction to make vaccination compulsory within their state lines, and a third concerns parents’ rights to not vaccinate children due to religious or moral beliefs. 

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