Brazil Supreme Court rules coronavirus vaccine can be made mandatory

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RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil’s Supreme Court says coronavirus vaccination can be made mandatory, delivering a blow to the nation’s nascent anti-vaccine movement.

However, the court also says Brazilians may not be vaccinated against their will. A court statement says Thursday’s ruling does pave the way for state and municipal governments to approve laws imposing fines or restrictive measures for anyone refusing to take a vaccine.

President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly said he will not take any vaccine and opposes mandatory immunization. He has also sown skepticism about potential side effects.

Opinion polls have indicated a growing resistance to vaccination, with about one-fifth of Brazilians surveyed by pollster Datafolha this month saying they don’t intend to get a shot. That is more than double the percentage four months earlier.

Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa has yet to approve any shot for mass immunization.

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