‘Vaccines for Favelas!’ Campaign Launched on Statewide Mobilization Day Against Covid-19 in Favelas

Cartoon provided in solidarity by artist Carlos Latuff

Cartoon provided in solidarity by artist Carlos Latuff

Clique aqui para Português


February 10, 2021—The Covid-19 in Favelas Unified Dashboard has been publishing data since July on the scope of Covid-19 in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, in the absence of data produced and published by city or state governments. We have known since the beginning that the pandemic had been affecting favelas disproportionately, but the authorities have never carried out policies aimed specifically at these territories.

Today, with the arrival of the vaccine, we say ‘enough!’ to the policy of neglect. Favelas must be prioritized in the Covid-19 Vaccination Plan.

Whether due to lack of water in homes, widespread access to health services, high rates of essential and informal workers for whom social isolation is infeasible, difficulty in isolating, high intergenerational density in homes, lack of adequate information, and countless other factors. Furthermore, these are the people who have the most difficulty following safety protocols, like spending on masks. It is indisputable that we must look for ways to prioritize the residents of these territories in the vaccination policy.

For all these, and many other reasons, the collectives and institutions behind the Covid-19 in Favelas Unified Dashboard have launched today, February 10, 2021, on the Statewide Mobilization Day Against Covid-19 in Favelas, the campaign “Vacina Pra Favela Já!” (Vaccines for Favelas, Now!) The objective is to call on Rio’s authorities to take immediate action to guarantee access to vaccines in the favelas.

Dashboard Voices: Why Prioritize Vaccination in Favelas?

“We suggest adding populations residing in favela territories [as a priority in the Vaccination Plan], as they are citizens who have greater difficulty in accessing health services and who live in conditions that are very conducive to the spread of the disease: with houses close to each other, with fewer rooms in their households, bigger concentrations of people per household, with less access to sanitation services and where a large number of their residents do not have an employment relationship, making face-to-face work the only possibility to acquire income for their families’ subsistence.” — Renata Gracie (vice-coordinator of the Health Information Laboratory-LIS/ICICT/Fiocruz)

“Because a good part of the favela population works on the frontlines and uses public transportation (which for the most part is always beyond capacity and the possibility of social distancing). In addition, the majority of this population, when infected with Covid-19, will depend entirely on the public health system that lacks beds. Moreover, it is much more challenging to comply with measures of social distancing and handwashing in peripheral territories, as the housing density is higher and basic sanitation network is often scarce. ” — Amanda Scofano (Ph.D. student, PUC-Rio)

“The favela and peripheral populations should be given priority in the vaccination due to two factors. Firstly, because these territories are generally more precarious in terms of access to water, the issue of housing—with large families and small homes where everyone has lots of contact all the time, which makes it difficult to contain the virus. Secondly, because it is the people who live in these territories who work in essential services, although many are not listed as such. So, if we are not vaccinated, we will continue spreading the coronavirus. Because we work in different parts of the city, despite some segregation. We are not contained in the favela. As much as we live in this place, that already has a more precarious situation of protection, we also work in these different sectors of society, so if we aren’t protected, we will spread the virus to different parts of the city.” — Douglas Heliodoro (Coletivo Conexões Periféricas, Rio das Pedras)

“It is known that precisely these people, especially those who live on the periphery, spend more time traveling around the city and, consequently, have a greater chance of having contact with the virus.” — Andressa Cabral Botelho (Maré de Notícias)

“Imagine a mother, with no option to stay home and having to go to work, trying to convince her daughter—who has already missed an academic year—to stay at home to decrease the chance of her grandmother getting Covid? Impossible, right? Imagine that in a favela, where children are used to the community being an extension of the home? The child with no school to go to, with no remote learning option, no space inside the house to play. Meanwhile, the grandmother doesn’t have access to tests or quality healthcare if she becomes ill. Can you imagine this mother’s daily despair? Now, compare that reality with others in our society. From families with homes separated by generations, children in remote education, parents in virtual work. There is no doubt that favelas should be given priority for the vaccine, for both pragmatic and social justice reasons.” — Theresa Williamson (Catalytic Communities, CatComm)

“The favelas should be prioritized because they are the areas of the city that suffer the most in every way, due to both the pandemic and other diseases, tuberculosis, basic sanitation, lack of water. Given that many favelas have the Family Clinic, which would facilitate their vaccination, the government should prioritize the families that live in these places.” — Otávio Alves Barros (President of the Vale Encantado Cooperative, Alto da Boa Vista)

“Vaccination should be a priority in the favelas as they are historically invisible territories. The people who live in the favelas need to look for ways to survive on a daily basis… they have to make the decision to expose themselves to the virus or not having food. People who are the ones that guarantee the continuity of basic services in the city, but at the same time are deprived of those services in the place where they live. Vaccination should be a priority because, from the beginning, containing the virus has proven to be a challenge in areas where there is no basic sanitation, housing is extremely precarious and families need to share small rooms with several people. To guarantee priority vaccination in the favelas is to guarantee the care of those who are most vulnerable and, at the same time, to stop the spread of the virus.” — Andressa Good (TECHO)

“They don’t have easy access to health services. When they do, they go through the perversity of seeing the units being scrapped or closed, like the Manguinhos UPA, closed on January 6 this year.” – Rachel Viana (Postdoctoral researcher at Casa de Oswaldo Cruz and teacher in the Rio de Janeiro state school system)

“In the favela, people are the most affected; they are the people on the frontlines of the pandemic.” – Ana Leila Gonçalves (President-Founder of the Associação Centro Social Fusão, Mesquita RJ)

More deaths have occurred in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro than in 162 entire countries. The number of deaths in the favelas exceeds that of deaths in Paraguay (2846), Denmark (2216), Costa Rica (2692), Australia (909), Venezuela (1240), Mozambique (465), Thailand (79), Cameroon (474) ), Malaysia (909), and many others. Source: Covid-19 in Favelas Unified Dashboard (favela.info)

How Can the Government Prioritize Favelas?

  1. Guaranteeing vaccines primarily at Family Clinics and clinics within and close to the favelas, and the proper infrastructure for storage and distribution of doses.
  2. Prioritizing essential and vulnerable workers, such as drivers, delivery personnel, cashiers, cleaning ladies, caregivers, construction workers, and informal workers.
  3. Guaranteeing vaccines as a priority for public school teachers and students.
  4. Setting up vaccination centers at train and bus terminals.

How to Support the Campaign “Vacina Pra Favela, Já!”

Participate on the 10th and beyond, spreading the vacinaja.favela.info campaign through your social media using the hashtags #VacinaPraFavelaJa #FavelaContraPandemia #MobilizaFavela #FavelaResiste.

About the Covid-19 in Favelas Unified Dashboard

Collectives and organizations that are part of the Covid-19 in Favelas Unified Dashboard:

A.M.I.G.A.S. | Catalytic Communities | Centro Social Fusão |Coletivo Conexões Periféricas-RP | Covid por CEP | Data_Labe | Fala Roça | Favela Vertical | Fiocruz | Fórum Grita Baixada | Frente de Mobilização da Maré | Instituto Educacional Araujo Dutra | LabJaca | Maré de Notícias | Mulheres de Frente | Observatório de Favelas | PerifaConnection | Redes da Maré | SOS Providência | TETO | Voz das Comunidades | WikiFavelas

Relevant Links from the Covid-19 in Favelas Unified Dashboard

The Dashboard | Technical Note | Facebook | Release No. 1 | Release No. 2 | Release No. 3 | Release No. 4

Press Coverage of the Unified Dashboard:

CNN Brasil – January 7, 2021 Fiocruz will begin actions to combat Covid-19 in Rio’s favelas by February

Agência de Notícias das Favelas – December 28, 2020: Importance of the local rapporteur on Covid-19 cases in the favelas

TVI24 – December 11, 2020 If the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro Were a Country They would be the 50th with the Most Deaths by Covid-19 [TV Portugal]

Meia Hora – December 11, 2020: Brazil’s Greatest Health Tragedy

Agência Brasil – 10 December, 2020: Collectives demand protection measures against Covid-19 in Rio’s favelas

Rádio Agência Nacional – December 10, 2020: Rio’s favelas record 2,000 deaths from Covid-19, according to dashboard

SBT Brasil – December 10, 2020: Favelas in Rio register more deaths from Covid-19 than 121 countries

Brasil de Fato – December 10, 2020: Favelas’ Dashboard registers 56% more cases of covid than data from the City of Rio

O Dia – December 9, 2020: Rio de Janeiro’s favelas have more Covid-19 deaths than 121 countries

CNN Saúde – December 8, 2020: Favelas in the Metropolitan Region of RJ have more cases of Covid-19 than 142 countries

Icict / Fiocruz – December 8, 2020: Public transportation in the pandemic is the topic of the collective conference of the Favelas Unified Dashboard, on December 10, at 2 pm

Rede Covida – October 30, 2020 Initiative highlights how data can save lives in Rio’s favelas

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz – October 26, 2020: Covid-19 in Favelas Unified Dashboard launches video on the importance of data collection during the pandemic

Correio da Manhã – October 27, 2020: Covid-19 in Favelas Unified Dashboard launches campaign

Notícias Gerais – October 27, 2020: Favela Campaign Shows How Data Can Save Lives

Agência de Notícias das Favelas – October 26, 2020: Covid-19 in Favelas Unified Dashboard launches campaign on importance of access to information

Projeto Colabora – October 4, 2020: A fight that comes from within

Rádio Nacional – August 20, 2020: Rio de Janeiro records 202,000 cases of Covid-19 and 15,000 deaths

Agência Brasil – 13 October, 2020: Rio: 1,400 deaths by covid-19 were in favelas, dashboard shows

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz – August 12, 2020: Favelas Unified Dashboard holds second press conference this Thursday, 08/13

O Dia – August 3, 2020: Warning Sign in Maré

Shareable The Response Podcast – July 28, 2020: The Response: Crowdsourcing data to fight the pandemic in Rio’s favelas [PODCAST USA]

The Sociable – July 27, 2020: Neglected by govt, Brazilian favela organizations take Covid-19 data collection into their own hands [Colombia / USA]

O Globo – July 23, 2020: Favelas challenge official data on deaths from coronavirus in Rio communities and create their own dashboard

Vax Before Travel – July 14, 2020: Rio Resolves Outbreak Under-Reporting

Rádio Agência Nacional – July 10, 2020: Online platform to gather data on Covid-19 in 120 favelas in Rio de Janeiro

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz – July 10, 2020: Movements launch Covid-19 in Favelas Unified Dashboard

SBT – July 10, 2020: Covid-19: unregistered cases may be greater than the total number of infected people in the city [TV]

Agência Brasil – July 9, 2020: NGO launches unified dashboard to collect Covid-19 data in favelas by Alana Gandra, also Época Negócios

Favela News Agency – July 9, 2020: Dashboard unifies data on Covid-19 in Rio’s favelas

O Dia – July 9, 2020: Covid-19: dashboard launched by Rio communities shows high number of deaths in favelas

Reuters – July 9, 2020: Rio’s favelas turn to technology to fight underreporting of coronavirus cases [USA]

G1 – July 9, 2020: Data released by Rio favela organizations show Covid-19 numbers higher than official figures

TV Globo / Bom Dia Rio – July 9, 2020: Rio communities launch dashboard on number of coronavirus cases in favelas [TV]

Contact: covid19nasfavelas@comcat.org or (21) 991976444