President Jair Bolsonaro will not be vaccinated against the virus: "it is my right"
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has said that he will not be vaccinated against the coronavirus, but that the government will "immediately" organize the distribution of a vaccine approved by regulators.
"I tell them I will not take it (the vaccine)," he said in a video posted on social media Thursday. "It is my right".
Brazil, which has 212 million inhabitants, is the second most affected country by the pandemic, with more than 170,000 deaths, behind the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The far-right president has been criticized for his handling of the epidemic, downplaying its severity and opposing restricting economic activities. He personally beat Covid-19 in July after becoming infected at the age of 65, taking the opportunity to reaffirm his unwavering faith in hydroxychloroquine, the efficacy of which, however, is not scientifically proven. More than half of the government has tested positive in recent months.
Once a treatment is approved by Brazilian health regulatory authorities, the government will "immediately organize" its purchase and distribution to those who want it, he said in the video. But he said he was "sure" that Parliament would not make vaccination mandatory.
On Wednesday, the US laboratory Pfizer transmitted the results of its vaccine tests to the Brazilian health regulatory authorities for approval. The Brazilian Ministry of Health has already decided to buy 100 million doses of a different vaccine, developed by the AstraZeneca laboratory and the University of Oxford.
Phase 3 clinical trials of a third vaccine, CoronaVac, from the Chinese laboratory Sinovac, were briefly suspended in Brazil after the death of a volunteer, a suspension hailed by President Bolsonaro as a "personal victory." Since then, these tests have been resumed.