An attack on coronavirus vaccine has been launched by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, also implying that the one produced by Pfizer-BioNTech might turn people into crocodiles or bearded ladies.
Since it first appeared late last year the far-right leader has been dismissive of the coronavirus, calling it little flu.” This week even when unveiling the country’s mass inoculation program, he insisted he would not be vaccinated.
“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,” Bolsonaro said on Thursday.
The vaccine has been undergoing testing for weeks in Brazil and is also being used in the United States and Britain.
He said, referring to the drug makers, “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.”
Bolsonaro also said it would be free but not obligatory when the immunization drive was launched on Wednesday. But on Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that the vaccine was mandatory, although it could not be “forced” on individuals.
That means that authorities will fine citizens for not being vaccinated and ban them, but not compel them to take them from those public spaces.
Among its 212 million people, Brazil has reported more than 7.1 million cases and nearly 185,000 deaths from Covid-19.
Bolsonaro said that once the Brazilian regulatory agency Anvisa has approved a vaccine, “it will be available for everyone that wants it But me, I won’t get 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?”
A small number of cases of obvious reinfection have been documented, but there is no guarantee as to whether an individual can be reinfected or how long the immunity lasts.
In July, Bolsonaro caught the virus but recovered within 3 weeks. Brazil is in the middle of the second wave of coronavirus infections.
Cases had been decreasing after peaking in June to August, but in November that changed. On Thursday, for the first time since September, Brazil reached 1,000 daily deaths from Covid-19.
The country’s immunization system, not least amid Bolsonaro’s opposition, has been widely criticized for being late and chaotic.