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The politics of COVID-19 vaccination in middle-income countries: lessons from Brazil

Massard da Fonseca, Elize, Shadlen, Kenneth C. ORCID: 0000-0003-4010-4835 and Inácio Bastos, Francisco (2021) The politics of COVID-19 vaccination in middle-income countries: lessons from Brazil. Social Science and Medicine, 281. ISSN 0277-9536

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114093


As the world struggles to meet the challenges of vaccination against COVID-19, more attention needs to be paid to issues faced by countries at different income levels. Middle-income countries (MICs) typically lack the resources and regulatory capacities to pursue strategies that wealthier countries do, but they also face different sets of challenges and opportunities than low-income countries (LICs). We focus on three dimensions of vaccination: procurement and production; regulation of marketing registration; and distribution and uptake. For each dimension we show the distinct challenges and opportunities faced by MICs. We illustrate these challenges and opportunities with the case of Brazil, showing how each dimension has been affected by intense political conflicts. Brazil’s procurement and production strategy, which builds on a long trajectory of local production and technology transfer, has been riddled by conflicts between the national government and state governments. The regulatory approval process, based around one of Latin America’s most highly-regarded regulatory authorities, has also been subject to acute inter- and intra-governmental conflicts. And with regard to distribution and uptake, in the face of high uncertainty, even with a solid health infrastructure, Brazil encounters difficulties in promoting vaccine delivery. The research also reveals the importance of coordination among these dimensions, in Brazil and beyond. Pandemic preparedness and response must include sharing knowledge of how to produce vaccines and recognition of the crucial linkages between procurement, regulation, delivery, and uptake that are necessary for ensuring access to these products.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: Funding Information: We thank the participants of the Global Virtual Symposium on Trade and Investment Treaties and Access to Medicines in a COVID-19 Era (09-10 December 2020), organized by the Global Development Policy Center, Boston University for their comments and suggestions. EMF was funded by the Sao Paulo Research Foundation grants number 2020/05230–8 and 2015/1860405 and by the FGV Applied Research Network. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 Elsevier Ltd
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2021 10:36
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2024 04:27

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