the anti-vaccination campaign

Image: Ricardo Kobayaski
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By CARLA TEIXEIRA*

The anti-vaxcine campaign was triggered when it became clear that the Chinese coronavirus could be ready and distributed before the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The crisis caused by the new coronavirus has sparked a world race in scientific cooperation never seen before in search of a vaccine that could minimize the effects of the pandemic. Many are being tested in several countries. In Brazil, we have the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca, in partnership with the University of Oxford, in England, tested by Fiocruz, in Rio de Janeiro. In São Paulo, we have the Chinese Coronavac, in tests by the Butantan Institute. In Paraná, Bahia and Maranhão, we have the Russian Sputnik V, the first vaccine approved worldwide and which promises 100% immunization with moderate side effects.

On August 26, the government of São Paulo requested R$ 1,9 billion from the Ministry of Health to double the production of initially planned doses of the Coronavac vaccine, thus making it possible to immunize all Brazilians. . The value of the contribution is the same as received by Fiocruz. According to the state secretary of health, Jean Gorinchteyn, Coronavac presented immunization of 92,4%, in the first dose, increasing to 97%, in the second dose, showing that it is a vaccine that proposes to protect and immunize. Adverse effects were low, mostly related to pain at the application site.

Following the request made by the government of João Dória – who, after the Bolso-Dória campaign, in the 2018 elections, placed himself in opposition to the Federal government during the pandemic – the Government Communication Secretariat (SECOM) launched, on its social networks , on September 1st, an anti-vaccination campaign saying that “no one can force anyone to take a vaccine” and that “the Brazilian government values ​​the freedom of Brazilians” (certainly the advertisement refers to the freedom to die!). Bolsonaro bet on the AstraZeneca vaccine, which promises only 50% effectiveness and already has two reported cases of transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord that can cause weakness in the arms and legs, paralysis, pain, intestinal and bladder problems. According to experts, two cases represent a dangerous pattern. If a third case of neurological disease appears in the group submitted to the test, it could be the end of this vaccine that, in Brazil, already had an investment of R$ 1,9 billion.

Without the health of Brazilians, what is behind the Federal Government's anti-vaccination campaign is the right-wing dispute for the 2022 presidential election. Dória is a strong political opponent of the current president and seeks to stamp himself as the one who brought to Brazil a effective vaccine and enabled the immunization of the population during the biggest health crisis of the last 100 years. Bolsonaro, in his anti-China crusade to please Donald Trump, bet on a vaccine that now has problems and, seeing that he may have no alternative, creates chaos and doubt about vaccines to make the implementation of a national immunization policy unfeasible. It polarizes in the face of obvious issues, as their governments feed on the chaos caused by the coronavirus which, in the current pandemic situation, prevents mass mobilizations against their (mis)government. It's all politically calculated at the expense of our health.

The anti-vaccination campaign was triggered when it became clear that the Chinese coronavirus could be ready and distributed before the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is now at risk of not even being approved. Before allowing another right-wing candidate to capitalize on the virus and project himself as a strong name for the 2022 presidential elections, Bolsonaro will sacrifice the lives of hundreds of thousands, millions of Brazilians, continue to carry out his electoral campaigns full of crowds, without protection, while the left remains paralyzed, without calling popular demonstrations against the government's missteps, for not wanting to expose lives to the danger of the disease. Bolsonaro gains from the chaos of the pandemic and will do whatever is necessary to satisfy his vanity and feed his ignorant mediocrity.

* Carla Teixeira is a doctoral candidate in History at UFMG.

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