A healthcare worker holds a vial of a coronavirus vaccine 

By Vatican News staff writer

Jan 9 2021

Brazil’s Bishops are urging citizens to accept Covid-19 vaccines when offered, and call on the government to guarantee vaccinations “as a right for all Brazilians.”

The Health Minister of Brazil, Eduardo Pazuello, says the country is ready to begin vaccinating its population against Covid-19 later this month.

Noting Brazil has ordered 354 million vaccine doses for 2021, for a population of 209 million, the health minister said President Jair Bolsonaro signed several executive orders on Wednesday aimed at streamlining vaccine administration.

The news came as the South American nation recorded over 63,000 Covid-19 cases and over 1,200 deaths over the past 24 hours.

Vaccine ‘a right’

At the same time, the nation’s Catholic Bishops are calling on the government to ensure all Brazilians’ “right” to receive the vaccine.

In a letter released Wednesday, the presidency of the Brazilian Catholic Bishops’ Conference said political leaders have the “responsibility to quickly define strategies to rollout vaccines immediately.”

They lamented Brazil’s high death toll—around 200,000—and said the loss of life has caused great “mourning and pain in the hearts of families.”

Social issue, not an individual one

The Bishops also urged citizens to receive a vaccine when their turn comes.

“To eradicate Covid-19, everyone must walk together, no one excluded,” they said. “Co-responsibility is of the utmost importance to face this health and social challenge.”

Since “no pandemic can be overcome in isolation”, the Bishops said vaccination is “a social issue, not an individual one.”

Justice and solidarity

Brazil’s Bishops then called on all national and ecclesiastical institutions to play their part in combatting the crisis.

“Justice, solidarity, and inclusion are the primary criteria for facing this pandemic,” they said, adding that “special attention needs to be paid to the most vulnerable and poor.”

May God, conclude the Bishops of Brazil, “help us to learn from the lessons of the pandemic, so that we can overcome it and move forward in building a healthier world, starting from fraternity and universal solidarity.” – Vatican News