The National Federation of Private Schools (Fenep) is advising private educational institutions not to require a vaccination certificate from students when resuming classes. The charge must provoke controversy. Last Monday, 10th, parents and guardians of the American School of Rio de Janeiro (EARJ), an elite school, released a petition with more than 500 signatures against mandatory immunization.
The president of Fenep, Bruno Eizerik, explained that the federation defends the vaccination of children and adolescents. It also advises associated unions to encourage parents and guardians to vaccinate younger students. However, he stressed, he considers that it would not be the schools, but the health authorities, the role of charging the vaccination passport. “We respect those families who understand that vaccination doesn’t have to be done,” said Eizerik.
EARJ informed parents and guardians that, for face-to-face classes, it would charge students aged 5 to 12 for an immunization certificate. According to the undersigned, however, “the fact that mandatory vaccination cannot be ignored is (sic) a complex and polarized issue”.
The text also states that “the vaccination of children must be an attribution of the parents, and it is not up to the school director or his/her directors to have the moral right or medical competence to compel parents to vaccinate their children, under penalty of depriving them. to attend school in person”.
Eizerik explained that as they are private institutions, schools have the autonomy to charge the vaccination passport, although this is not the orientation of the federation. Most closed establishments, such as bars, restaurants, work environments, require the vaccinal passport of the regulars, by legal determination
“We don’t have the power to prohibit, if the school thinks it should demand it, it will demand it”, he said. “Anyway, it is worth remembering that classes will start in 15 or 20 days and not all children will be vaccinated yet. Also, we studied in person last year without this vaccine and we didn’t record any major outbreaks, so I don’t think it’s necessary to create a fuss right now.”
The 1990 Statute of Children and Adolescents assures, in its article 14, that it is “mandatory to vaccinate children in the cases recommended by the health authorities”. Therefore, traditionally, public and private schools ask for the children’s vaccination book at the time of enrollment.
“Vaccination in Brazil has been mandatory for more than thirty years, it is foreseen in the ECA”, reaffirms the director of the Brazilian Society of Immunizations, pediatrician Renato Kfouri. “In all these years, the number of cases in which the Justice had to intervene in order for parents to vaccinate their children is negligible. This discussion is only of interest to anti-vaccinationists.”
Greater resistance among the richest
A survey released by the government of the state of São Paulo last Tuesday, 11, revealed that eight out of ten parents or guardians intend to vaccinate their children against covid-19. But this percentage is significantly higher among the poorest compared to the richest.
Among those who earn up to one minimum wage, the pro-vaccination group reaches 92%. From three minimum wages upwards, it drops to 73%. The American School, considered elite, has an average monthly fee of R$8,000.
“In this pandemic, the richest died less than the poorest”, said the health management specialist and member of the UFRJ’s Committee to Combat Coronavirus Chrystina Barros. “And these people (the richest), unfortunately, end up thinking only of themselves, they forget that the child needs the vaccine for their own protection, but that they are also part of the chain of dissemination of the disease.”
Although older people are more vulnerable to Covid, 324 children aged 5 to 11 have died from the disease since the start of the pandemic. In addition, experts point out, with the exponential spread of the Ômicron variant and as teenagers and adults are already largely vaccinated, it is likely that, in this third wave, the disease will spread more among younger groups.