Brazilian states to defy Bolsonaro on Covid-19 shots for kids

Rio de Janeiro, Dec 24 (EFE).- The governments of Brazil’s 27 states said Friday that they will ignore a directive from the administration of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro to require a doctor’s prescription for vaccination of children under 12 against Covid-19.

The signal of defiance from the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass) followed federal Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga’s announcement of the restrictive policy.

“Unhappily, there is someone who considers it natural that coronavirus takes your life, little ones,” Conass said in a statement styled as a Christmas card to Brazil’s children.

“But with vaccines we have already conquered poliomyelitis, measles and more than 20 preventable illnesses. So instead of making it more difficult, we are going to facilitate the vaccination of all little Brazilians,” the message continued.

Parents who bring their children to vaccination stations will not be asked to produce a prescription or any other document, Conass said.

The 27 health secretaries cited a decision last year by Brazil’s Supreme Court that state and municipal governments are free to adopt the measures they decide are appropriate to deal with the pandemic, which has claimed 618,000 lives in the giant Latin American nation.

Anvisa, the Brazilian medical regulatory agency, issued an authorization on Dec. 16 for the administration of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to children between the ages of 5 and 11.

In the days since then, Bolsonaro has sought to create obstacles to inoculating youngsters, going so far as to demand the release of the names of the Anvisa scientists who granted approval.

The Brazilian president is the world’s most prominent pandemic denialist, repeatedly dismissing Covid-19 as a “measly flu,” denouncing state and municipal governments for mask mandates and other preventive measures and resisting calls to address the economic effects of the public health crisis. EFE Lcm/dr

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