After a sluggish and chaotic start, the vaccination against Covid-19 in Brazil is running at full speed and is accompanied by a significant drop in the number of deaths in the second most bereaved country in the world by the pandemic.
Recognized worldwide for its ability to set up massive immunization campaigns in record time, this country of 213 million inhabitants only started anti-ovid vaccination in mid-January, more than a month after the Most European countries or neighboring Argentina.
And vaccination progressed slowly at the beginning, with interruptions due to the lack of available doses, a delay attributed by specialists to the chaotic management of the Bolsonaro government, in a country which is close to 600,000 deaths from Covid-19.
But today, Brazil has already injected more than 214 million doses, to reach the 4th world rank, after China, India and the United States, according to the data analysis site Our World in Data.
Above all, it is the third country that currently vaccinates the most, with 1.5 million daily injections on average.
Brazil has decided to initially focus on mass vaccination with a first dose, with longer intervals for the second to preserve stocks.
While 67.6% of the population has already received the first dose, only 35.5% have been fully immunized, much less than in France (69.6%), Chile (69.4%) or the United States. United (54.1%).
But Brazil is still in third position among the ten most populous countries.
Result: the number of deaths caused by Covid-19 has fallen sharply, to less than 500 daily deaths on average, against more than 2,000 in June and 1,000 at the end of July.
“The acceleration began in May-June, with the arrival of a greater number of doses and a more coherent campaign,” José David Urbáez, president of the Society of Infectious Diseases of Brasilia, told AFP.
Another major asset: strong support from the population, more than 90% of Brazilians wanting to be vaccinated according to the latest surveys.
And yet, they were anything but encouraged by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has multiplied controversial statements about vaccines. He went so far as to say that the vaccine could “turn people into crocodiles” because of its side effects and that he would be “the last Brazilian to be vaccinated”.
The government is strongly criticized for its lack of anticipation in the acquisition of vaccines. Not to mention the repeated attacks against China, which, according to the opposition, caused delays in the delivery of doses or active ingredients to manufacture them.
“It started too late,” said Paula Vasconcelos, “relieved” to have been able to vaccinate her teenage daughter in Brasilia.
“Hundreds of thousands of deaths could have been avoided” if the government had been less “denial”, denounces Monica de Barros, a 57-year-old pensioner, when receiving her second dose.
Suspicion of corruption
If the government had started negotiating the purchase of vaccines earlier, mid-2020, “in May or June of this year, we would have already vaccinated the population necessary” to control the pandemic, explains José David Urbáez.
A Senate parliamentary commission of inquiry (CPI) has been looking for several months into the management of the health crisis, including suspicions of corruption in the purchase of vaccines.
What strongly undermine the popularity of President Bolsonaro, who has only 24% of favorable opinions, while, despite the improvement in the health situation, the country remains undermined by unemployment and galloping inflation.
“The acceleration of vaccination will have very positive consequences for Brazil, such as the reduction in the number of deaths and the resumption of economic activities, but it will hardly translate into an increase in popularity” of the Head of State, believes political scientist Maurício Santoro.
In a cartoon published by the newspaper Diario Catarinense, Jair Bolsonaro can be seen breaking into a vaccination post to ask, “Do you have an ICC vaccine?”