In yet another move by the Bolsonaro government against science, two ministries published official documents to discourage childhood vaccination.
One of the documents is from the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights. It was published by the newspaper “Folha de S. Paulo” and TV Globo also had access. Four secretaries sign the note that seeks “to present technical and legal grounds on the violation of human rights arising from the mandatory submission of the National Vaccination Certificate and on the non-compulsory vaccination against Covid-19, as indispensable measures for the enjoyment of human rights.” human and fundamental”.
The note states that, as the Covid vaccine is not on the list of basic vaccinations in the Child’s Handbook, it will not be mandatory, and parents or guardians, therefore, have autonomy over the decision to apply it or not to their children or guardians. tutored.
The ministry also offers the government’s main channel for denouncing human rights violations, Dial 100, for those who do not want to be vaccinated and suffer, according to the government, discrimination.
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Since the beginning of immunization against Covid, under pressure from President Jair Bolsonaro, the vaccine has never been mandatory. But states and municipalities have the autonomy to require proof of vaccination for entry into public places and private companies, such as restaurants and cinemas, can also require the so-called vaccination passport.
The infectologist of the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics, Marco Aurélio Sáfadi, considers that this type of action by the ministry hinders all the work done by doctors and health entities to show the population the importance of immunization.
“If there is no assertive communication on the part of the health authorities, a correct communication that informs our population, this definitively compromises the success of the vaccination campaign and the reach that vaccination can have within our population. It compromises coverage and puts our population at risk, with consequences such as an increase in the number of cases, an increase in the number of hospitalizations in people who could be taking advantage of the benefits of this intervention”, he says.
The other technical note is from the Ministry of Health itself, signed by the extraordinary secretary for the fight against Covid, Rosana Melo, and by director Danilo de Souza Vasconcelos, and seeks to reinforce that the immunization of children aged 5 to 11 years is not mandatory because it is not in the PNI, and yes, in the PNO.
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According to experts, the argument is merely rhetorical since the PNO – National Operational Plan – was created during the pandemic to provide technical support to the PNI, the National Immunization Program. And, therefore, the PNO is part of the PNI.
In practice, what the note intends is for parents who do not want to vaccinate their children to legally escape the obligations imposed by the Statute of Children and Adolescents.
FGV law professor Viviane Ferreira recalls that the Child and Adolescent Statute establishes that “it is mandatory to vaccinate children in the cases recommended by the health authorities”.
“So there’s no such discussion, right? Whether it should be included in the National Immunization Plan or whether Anvisa approval is sufficient. It is a discussion that, ultimately, only serves to violate the right to health and protection of children and adolescents”, he explains.
Paulo Almeida, director of the Instituto Questão de Ciência, condemns the government’s actions against childhood vaccination.
“What is being done is insane, what is being done in this country is incomprehensible, where the health authorities themselves are creating, undermining the institutions themselves, creating difficult conditions. To justify something to the base of political support, you create a situation of instability, of vaccine hesitancy – even using arguments that are not in the very documents that the government used in defining these instances. First, in fact, they hurt the Constitution, the basic right to health for the population. And, unfortunately, this is not only done irresponsibly to the winds, but actually undermining institutions that have a long history of functioning well in Brazil. The PNI is an indisputable national heritage and the success that Brazil has compared to other countries in vaccination campaigns is very great”, he laments.