The Supreme Court’s role in the clash over the mandatory vaccination against Covid-19


SÃO PAULO – Although there is a perception of a majority in the Supreme Federal Court (STF) in favor of mandating a vaccine that is proven effective in combating Covid-19, ministers tend not to anticipate the discussion and should, at least for now, avoid taking a position on the subject, which has become a new stage of dispute in national politics.

It is the assessment made by political analyst Debora Santos, a specialist in legal matters at XP Investimentos. For her, the movement dialogues with the stance defended by the current court president, Minister Luiz Fux, with greater reserve in the actions of the Judiciary and in order to avoid the so-called judicialization of politics.

This was one of the subjects of the podcast Political Frequency. program is a partnership between InfoMoney and XP Investimentos. Listen in full through the player above.

“From a political point of view, the Supreme Court has no intention of getting into this subject now because it wants to avoid a clash with the government. The ministers have noticed that Bolsonaro uses the vaccine theme to speak to the militancy at the base, and the court does not want reasons to enter into direct clashes with it, as it happened at the end of the first half ”, he observes.

“These themes that affect the government’s ideological group and whose main focus is social networks are a field in which the Supreme Court no longer wants to enter. President Luiz Fux wants a more serious and remote Supreme – in this respect, a more closed Supreme ”, he adds.

In previous decisions, magistrates indicated a position of greater respect for scientific knowledge, as in the case involving the decision on social isolation policies even during the first months of the pandemic, and now behind the scenes they signal support for the mandatory immunization if they are provoked to decide about the subject.

Last week, Minister Ricardo Lewandowski decided to take three actions under his rapporteur directly to the plenary that discuss the compulsory vaccine and other prophylactic measures to combat the new coronavirus. The moment of deliberation on the theme, however, depends on Fux’s decision to decide.

“Although there is a majority of Supreme Court ministers who understand that mandatory vaccination would be important, especially in the case of Covid-19, there is also a will by the president of the court, who decides the agenda, to let the Legislative and Understand each other ”, evaluates the analyst.

Fux’s position is in line with what the representatives of other Powers defend. The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ), said, last Tuesday (27), that the mandatory vaccination should be discussed by the government and the parliament.

“We must not leave an open space, this vacuum, for the Supreme Court to decide once again,” he said at a news conference.

“The government and the Legislature should organize this vaccine issue, because I think it is the right environment. The government added to the House of the population and added to the House of the federation. I think it is better than a decision sent by the Federal Supreme Court, which, if nothing is done, will end up once again deciding in place of the Executive and Legislative ”, he added.

President Jair Bolsonaro (without a party) has said that the vaccine against Covid-19 will not be mandatory and also criticizes the possibility of the discussion stopping at the STF. Governor João Doria (PSDB), the main antagonist of the president in the fight against the vaccine, came to say that the immunizer will be mandatory in the state of São Paulo.

In São Paulo, the Butantan Institute has a partnership with the Chinese laboratory Sinovac to test and develop the Coronavac vaccine – the target of a recent dispute between Doria and Bolsonaro. The state government has a contract to receive 46 million doses of the immunizer, which is in phase three of testing (the last one before a possible approval), still in 2020.

The federal government, in turn, has an agreement signed with the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, for the purchase of 100 million doses of vaccine produced in partnership with the University of Oxford. The Ministry of Health has also adhered to the Covid-19 Global Access Instrument for Vaccines (Covax Facility), an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the bulk purchase of immunizers.

In the midst of the impasse involving mandatory, some paths are already discussed in the National Congress. Federal deputy Aécio Neves (PSDB-MG) this week filed a bill that provides that anyone who refuses to take the vaccine against Covid-19 will suffer the same consequences as those who do not vote and do not justify it to the Electoral Justice.

Sanctions include a ban on registering for a competition or being nominated for public office, receiving a civil service or public job salary and obtaining some types of loans, in addition to the impediment to renew enrollment in an official school, obtaining a passport and participating in bids.

“It is an intermediate solution, perhaps less controversial than mandatory. He does not directly confront President Bolsonaro and his base, ”points out political analyst Júnia Gama, also from XP Investimentos.

“Before the elections, nothing goes. But it is a debate that will have to happen as [aumentar] the prospect of vaccines coming out. A rule will be needed for this, and Congress shows that it wants to anticipate a decision that comes from the Supreme Court. It is a very expensive topic, the whole of Brazil is watching, it affects everyone ”, he concludes.

The subject was addressed in this week’s edition of the podcast Political Frequency. You can hear the full Spotify, Spreaker, iTunes, Google Podcasts and Castbox or download the episode by clicking here.


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