On Thursday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro launched an attack on Coronavirus vaccines and dismissed the efficacy of Coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech claiming that it could turn patients into crocodiles or bearded women.
In a statement, Bolsonaro said, “In the Pfizer contract it’s very clear: ‘we’re not responsible for any side effects. If you turn into a crocodile, it’s your problem”. The president further added, “If you become superhuman, if a woman starts to grow a beard or if a man starts to speak with an effeminate voice, they will not have anything to do with it.” This is despite the fact that the said vaccine is already being administered in the UK and the USA, and undergoing trials in Brazil and other countries.
Since the emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, Jair Bolsonaro has been sceptical about it. He had dismissed it as “a little flu.” He had also lifted the lockdown after imposing it, saying their country is safe from the virus as the population is younger and the weather is warmer. He had termed the lockdown announced in various places as “hysteria”.
Jair Bolsonaro refuses to undergo vaccination
The Brazilian President has also been sceptical of the Coronavirus vaccines. While launching a mass immunisation programme, he informed that he would not be vaccinated. “Some people say I’m giving a bad example. But to the imbeciles, to the idiots that say this, I tell them I’ve already caught the virus, I have the antibodies, so why get vaccinated?” Bolsanaro stated. It may be mentioned that he was diagnosed with the deadly virus in July, and had recovered within three weeks.
Supreme Court makes vaccines ‘obligatory’, but not ‘compulsory’
Jair Bolssonaro emphasised that vaccines would be free and widely available, following approval of Brazil’s regulatory agency Anvisa, but not compulsory. However, the Supreme Court of the country has said that it was ‘obligatory’ to undergo vaccination, although it cannot be forced. As such, local authorities may fine or ban such people from public spaces but not force them into immunisation.
Jair Bolsonaro has been criticised for a ‘late and chaotic’ immunisation programme. As of December 20, Brazil has recorded a total of 72 lac cases and 1.86 lac fatalities.