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Compulsory vaccination against COVID-19? An investigation in the light of the foundations and limits of Criminal Law

Grant number: 20/15913-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2021
Effective date (End): August 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Law - Public Law
Principal researcher:Flávia Siqueira Cambraia
Grantee:Adriana Rodrigues de Menezes


The pandemic caused by COVID-19 has left marks with regard to public health issues, in addition to sparking discussions regarding the scope of the spheres of freedom and individual autonomy. In Brazil, the rapid spread of the disease caused the State and Federal Governments to dictate containment measures for the disease, however, such measures diverged from each other, often leaving the population adrift. Given the emergence of a vaccine, the Federal and State Executive Powers, in addition to the Federal Legislature, disagreed about the mandatory nature of vaccination in Brazil: part defending the compulsory nature of vaccination, with or without the threat of criminal sanction; part intervening in the opposite direction. This debate generates considerations about individual autonomy and freedom of choice, on the one hand; and the interest in protecting the health of individuals and the community, on the other. Thus, the objective of this project is to analyze whether the State has the legitimacy to demand that an individual sacrifice their physical integrity in the name of the community; above all, the legitimacy of applying sanctions of a criminal nature, in the case of individual refusal to vaccinate, taking into account the subsidiary and fragmentary nature of the Criminal Law; examine the individual and social issues surrounding this impasse with regard to individuals' right to self-determination. The work will be guided by a hypothetical-deductive method, supported by the comparative; it will still be a qualitative, exploratory research, with bibliographic and documental analysis. It is hoped that this work will contribute to the discussion about mandatory vaccination and how this issue is related to autonomy and the right to individual physical integrity.

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