Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court (STF) formed a majority on Tuesday afternoon to authorize states and municipalities across the country to purchase their own Coronavirus vaccines, regardless of authorization from the government of Jair Bolsonaro or approval by the regulatory agency , Anvisa, the National Health Surveillance Agency.
Last December, judge Ricardo Lewandowski, rapporteur of the case at the STF, had already given an authorization in this regard, but it was temporary and needed to be endorsed by the other 10 magistrates of that court.
This Tuesday, until 2:30 pm in Brasilia, 17:30 pm in Lisbon, six more of the eleven judges of the STF had approved Lewandowski’s decision, forming a majority. The magistrates’ decision contradicts and annuls the Bolsonaro government’s determination that only the central government can acquire and distribute vaccines against the disease.
According to the STF’s decision, any state or city may negotiate and purchase vaccines against Covid-19 on the international market if the government of Jair Bolsonaro does not comply with the schedule that the executive himself defined for the National Immunization Program. So far, the central government has failed to meet all targets and deadlines in this immunization plan, which opens up prospects for states to try to buy their own vaccines.
Supreme Court magistrates went even further. According to the decision, states and municipalities may purchase even vaccines that have not been approved by Anvisa for use in Brazil, provided that they have already been authorized by reliable foreign regulators, such as those in the USA, Japan, Europe and China.
Since the beginning of vaccination in Brazil, on January 17, only about six million people have been vaccinated, an insignificant and insufficient number in a country with 212 million inhabitants.
With President Jair Bolsonaro denying the seriousness of the Coronavirus pandemic and campaigning against vaccines, Brazil is facing enormous difficulties in getting immunizers, and the two institutes that manufacture them in the country, the Butantan Institute, in São Paulo, and the Fiocruz Foundation, in Rio de Janeiro, are receiving much less inputs than they expected from China, a country that the Brazilian government repeatedly criticizes.