Citizens chancing their arm with São Paulo’s zero-waste vaccine policy

As vaccination marches on in Brazil's biggest state, citizens outside of priority groups are able to sign up to receive surplus immunizers at health centers. The result is chaos, with glimmers of hope

vaccine são paulo
Vaccine rollouts in São Paulo. Photo: BW Press/Shutterstock

“If the government hadn’t ignored Pfizer’s emails, we’d all be at home drinking beer by now, already vaccinated,” says Lara, a 24-year-old medical student who spent hours in line at a São Paulo immunization center this week, hoping to get her hands on a leftover vaccine. 

As things stand, Brazil’s biggest city is vaccinating people from risk groups, health professionals, teachers, transport workers, public security agents, and people aged 50 and over. 

But the rest of the population has the opportunity to vaccinate ahead of time, taking advantage of an authorized but loosely regulated practice in the state’s health...

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