The government of Brazil issued a decree this Thursday that prohibits schools from requiring their students to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, amid controversy over the president’s resistance Jair Bolsonaro to childhood immunization.
“The requirement of proof of immunization as an indirect means to induce mandatory vaccination could only be established by law”, says the decree published in the Official Gazette and signed by the Minister of Education, Milton Ribeiro.
The text emphasizes that the mandatory nature of immunization is not contemplated in the legislation, therefore “It is not possible for federal educational institutions to establish the requirement of vaccination against covid-19 as a condition for the return to face-to-face educational activities.”
The next school year will begin at the end of January and, according to all forecasts, the classes will be totally face-to-face, after having operated remotely or mixed since March 2020, when a pandemic that has already killed about 610,000 Brazilians arrived in the country.
On December 16, The National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), in its role as regulator of the sector, approved the pediatric vaccine from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and recommended that it be applied to children between five and eleven years old.
However, he met stiff resistance from Bolsonaro, one of the most denialist leaders in the world, who opposes the use of masks and other prevention measures and even maintains a firm campaign against vaccines, which until now has received 80% of the country’s citizens over 12 years of age, according to official data.
Bolsonaro, who had coronavirus in July last year and boasts of not having been vaccinated, declared this week that, in the case of children, immunization “raises many doubts.”
He also stressed that daughter Laura will not be immunized. “My daughter is not going to be vaccinated. Let it be clear. He is 11 years old, ”he emphasized.
The Government has not yet decided whether it will accept Anvisa’s recommendation on children, but has opened a “public consultation” so that any interested party, regardless of their scientific knowledge, can give their opinion on the matter.
According to the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, the decision will be made after that consultation and could be to release vaccination for children, but only with the consent of their parents and a “medical prescription.”