The plenary session of the Supreme Court of Brazil endorsed this Thursday by a large majority that the vaccine against covid-19 is mandatory in the country and it allowed the states and municipalities to impose sanctions for those who do not.
The ruling of the high court, made up of eleven magistrates, does not mean, however, that the population has to be forcibly vaccinated, but it opens the door for the country’s authorities take “indirect measures” to promote immunization.
Brazil is one of the countries in the world most affected by the pandemic, along with the United States and India, and until this Thursday it accounted for 7.1 million infections and about 185,000 deaths related to the new coronavirus.
By ten votes to one, the Supreme authorized regional and municipal governments to punish individuals who refuse to take the anticovid vaccine by prohibiting them, for example, from exercising certain activities or preventing them from accessing certain social benefits.
In practice, the country’s highest court equated the application of the anticovid vaccine with voting, which, according to Brazilian law, is mandatory, although the voter is not forced to exercise it.
However, Brazilians who decide not to vote – in the last municipal elections held in November, abstention in several cities exceeded 30% -, and do not justify it, a financial fine is applied to them and, ultimately, they may be prevented from participating in public competitions and renewing their passport, among other restrictions.
In this context, the majority of the Supreme Court voted in favor of the opinion of the investigating judge in the case, Ricardo Lewandowski, who said it is “flagrantly unconstitutional“Forced vaccination, but defended that” collective health cannot be harmed by people who deliberately refuse to be vaccinated. “Magistrate Luis Roberto Barroso stated that” vaccination is important for the protection of the entire population. society, not being legitimate individual decisions that seriously affect the rights of third parties “.
The only judge who did not agree, in part, was Judge Kassio Nunes Marques, appointed this year by President Jair Bolsonaro, one of the most skeptical world leaders about the severity of the pandemic and who has already advanced that he will not take any. vaccine against the new coronavirus. Nunes Marques stated that mandatory vaccination should be the “last combat measure” against the health crisis and once “all the less burdensome forms of intervention have been exhausted.”
Vaccination against covid-19 has become in Brazil a political battle encouraged by Bolsonaro, who has censored the use of the mask and defended the non-mandatory nature of any formula against covid-19. Last October, the far-right president even stated on his social networks that vaccines are only mandatory for the dog at home
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