Brazil’s wealthy could jump vaccine line

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, wearing a mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, hands a pen to Health Minister Gen. Eduardo Pazuelo, left, at Planalto Presidential Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. After almost four months overseeing the COVID-19 response as interim health minister, Gen. Eduardo Pazuello will finally be made a full minister.

A minority of Brazilians will be able to pay for a COVID-19 vaccine if an association of private clinics can close a deal to bring 5 million shots to Latin America’s most unequal country.

President Jair Bolsonaro, under fire for his government’s handling of the pandemic, has promised not to interfere.

Amid the government’s stumbling vaccine rollout, many moneyed Brazilians want to find a swift path to vaccination, sparking backlash from some public health experts and igniting debate on social media, editorial pages and talk shows.

There has been concern globally that the privileged could game the system to get themselves vaccinated before others. When the connected have been caught leapfrogging ahead, in countries like Turkey, Morocco and Spain, they have faced criticism, investigations or forced resignations.

Brazil has had its reports of line-jumpers, too, but the nation stands apart because maneuvering isn’t only done in the shadows.

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