Low uptake of COVID-19 vaccination in Brazil’s Indigenous people is concerning: death rates from the disease in these communities are estimated to be more than double the national average (M. Fellows et al. Front. Psychiatry https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.638359; 2021). Urgent action to increase vaccination must counter misinformation, build trust and ensure easy access.
Acceptance rates to COVID-19 vaccines go from almost 90% in China to less than 55% in Russia, and are around 85% in Brazil (J. V. Lazarus et al. Nature Med. 27, 225–228; 2020). Rates also vary between ethnic groups.
So far, six million Brazilians have been vaccinated. Indigenous people are a priority group. But only around half of them have been vaccinated. Reserved doses have been released to others, such as non-Indigenous elderly people. Practical difficulties with the roll-out are compounded by the spread of frightening fake news through social media in these communities, fuelled by anti-science rhetoric at the highest levels.
It is imperative that regional and local leaders co-develop communication and education programmes about coronavirus vaccination with communities to protect people from misinformation (‘pre-bunking’) and to debunk it (see go.nature.com/3rjayvy). The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil has been leading the way.
Nature 591, 369 (2021)