January 21st, 2022


1. State governments begin COVID vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years old

Last week, after receiving the first batch of Pfizer vaccines, 13 state capitals began to vaccinate children aged 5 to 11 years old. On Friday (1/14), David Seremramiwe, an 8 years old indigenous boy, was the first child to receive the vaccine in Brazil, during a ceremony organized by the São Paulo state government.

In the first few days of the vaccination campaign, states and cities had to deal with a vaccine shortage. In Rio de Janeiro, City Hall altered vaccination plans due to a lack of doses. In São Paulo, Governor João Doria criticized how slowly paediatric doses of the vaccine are being distributed. The state governments of Paraíba, Pernambuco, Goiás, Paraná, Bahia, Tocantins, and Minas Gerais have also had to deal with a lack of vaccines.

On Thursday (1/20), the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) approved the emergency use of the CoronaVac vaccine for children aged 6 to 17 years old. The vaccination process will be the same as for adults: two doses given within a 28 day interval. China, Hong Kong, Chile, Ecuador, Indonesia, and Cambodia have also authorized the use of the vaccine for children.

Exame: Por falta de doses, Rio muda o calendário de vacinação de crianças
BBC: O que sabemos até agora na vacinação infantil contra a covid no Brasil
UOL: Estados relatam problemas com entregas de vacinas contra a covid para crianças
Band: Doria critica falta de vacinas e diz ser ‘inconcebível’ não imunizar crianças
G1: Anvisa ibera CoronaVac para crianças e adolescente entre seis e 17 anos

2. States struggling with high ICU bed occupation rates due to COVID

The increase in the number of COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant – which is more transmissible – as well as cases of influenza, have put pressure on the Brazilian public and private health systems. There has been an increase in the occupation rate of ICU beds due to COVID.

States including Pernambuco, Espírito Santo, Goiás, and Ceará have confirmed that at least 80% of their ICU beds are occupied by COVID patients. In Ceará, Goiás, and Pernambuco, nearly 90% of beds are in use: 87% occupied in Goiás and Ceará and 86% in Pernambuco.

Other states such as Amazonas, Mato Grosso do Sul, Roraima, and Tocantins have an occupation rate over 60%. São Paulo also registered an increase, with over 50% of its ICU beds currently in use. In other states, only Acre and Rio de Janeiro have a low occupation rate, with 30% and 15% respectively.

It is important to note, however, that the increased occupancy rates are in part due to the reduction of available beds as a result of high vaccination levels.

G1: Ao menos três estados têm cerca de 80% dos leitos de UTI para covid ocupados
FSP: Quatro estados têm ocupação de leitos de UTI com 80% ou mais

3. Former Ministers Weintraub and Ernesto Araújo criticize Bolsonaro administration

On Tuesday (1/18), during a live stream of the show “Conserva Talk,” former Education Minister Abraham Weintraub and former Foreign Affairs Minister Ernesto Araújo criticized President Jair Bolsonaro’s alliance with the parties of Centrão – a group of parties from the political center. During the conversation, Weintraub said that “conservatives have been replaced by these people (Centrão).” Araújo said that the group has “begun to dominate and control the administration”.

During an interview with the podcast “Inteligência Ltda,” the former education minister said that Bolsonaro knew in advance about the investigation into his son Flávio Bolsonaro in the “rachadinhas” case – when Flávio demanded his employees pay him back part of their salaries. “I was part of the transitional government in November and was called into a room with some people. Bolsonaro said: ‘an accusation will come out about this one here (pointing to Flávio). The administration has nothing to do with him. If he did anything wrong, he’ll pay for it,’” said Weintraub.

Although he said Bolsonaro did not try to protect Flávio, Weintraub’s statement ended up confirming that the President had access to confidential information from police investigations. When the former minister was asked about the administration working to protect Flávio Bolsonaro, Weintraub backed down and said, “I would not slander the head of the country.”

Correio Braziliense: Ex-ministros de Bolsonaro criticam aproximação de presidente com o Centrão
UOL: Weintraub ataca governo Bolsonaro e diz que conservadores foram substituídos pelo Centrão
O Globo: A guerra de Weintraub contra o ‘senso incomum” do bolsonarismo

4. 2021 inflation rate was higher for the middle class and below 10% for the rich

The inflation rate for families with a monthly income of up to R$ 8,956 was above the 10.06%, as reported by the Brazilian Consumer Price Index (IPCA) in 2021. Families with a monthly income above this amount, however, witnessed an increase an inflation rate of less than 10%. For families with low to average incomes (R$ 2,702.88 to R$ 4,506.46), the inflation rate was 10.4%. For families with average incomes (R$ 4,506.47 to R$ 8,956.26), the inflation rate was 10.26%. For people with low or extremely low incomes (below R$ 2,702.88 a month), inflation was between 10.1% and 10.08%.

For people with average to high incomes and those with high incomes (more than R$ 8,956.25 a month), inflation was between 9.66% and 9.54% for the year. The difference between both ends of the scale was 0.54 percentage points, a lower difference than the 3.48 percentage points registered in 2020.

According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), which computes this data, the lower difference between inflation rates affecting the poor and the rich is due to the service sector. Services cost more for the rich, but prices were lower due to restrictions during the pandemic. IBGE also notes that the inflation rate for people with low incomes was higher due to domestic expenses, such as higher costs of energy and the price of cooking gas. For richer families, transport drove inflation due to higher gasoline and ethanol prices.

FSP: Inflação de 2021 atinge mais a classe média e fica abaixo de 10% para a alta renda
Isto É Dinheiro: Classe média sente em 2021 maior inflação, que também pressiona os mais pobres

5. Lula indicates he’s chosen Alckmin as vice-presidential candidate

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) said he has “no problem” in forming a ticket with former São Paulo State Governor Geraldo Alckmin (no party) for this year’s presidential election. During a press conference on Wednesday (1/19), Lula complimented Alckmin and said that the politician has already positioned himself well in opposition to President Jair Bolsonaro and to São Paulo State Governor João Doria, who is a PSDB presidential candidate.

Alckmin, who has no party affiliation since last year, was invited to become a member of PSB, but has yet to reply. He has also kept up conversations with Solidariedade. To his personal allies, Alckmin has confessed that he has given up on running for state governor and that his goal for 2022 is to join PT’s ticket.

When asked about the possibility of forming a ticket with Alckmin, Lula said he never had problems with Alckmin or with Senator José Serra (PSDB-SP) when they each governed São Paulo. “We have disagreements and different visions. That’s why we are in different parties. But that does not prevent us from putting our differences aside so we can govern together,” he said.

O Globo: Lula diz que não terá problemas fazer chapa com Alckmin para governar o país
Valor Econômico: Lula defende aliança com Alckmin e mercado reage
UOL: Lula defende aliança com Alckmin e diz que o PSDB de Doria não é o de FHC