Brazil’s Bolsonaro Says He Won’t Take the Coronavirus Vaccine

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro arrives for a press conference on electricity and gasoline at the Ministry of Mines and Energy in Brasilia, on January 15, 2020. - Bolsonaro spoke about Brazil's possible entry to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (Photo by Sergio LIMA / AFP) (Photo by …
SERGIO LIMA/AFP via Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that he will not take a coronavirus vaccine should one become available.

During a press briefing broadcast live over multiple social media platforms, Bolsonaro said that he has already decided to refuse a future coronavirus vaccine.

“I’m telling you, I’m not going to take it. It’s my right,” he said.

The right-wing leader has repeatedly stated that Brazilians will not be required to be vaccinated once a Chinese coronavirus vaccine becomes widely available. Bolsonaro reiterated this at Thursday’s briefing, saying that Brazil’s Congress was unlikely to require Brazilians to take a future coronavirus vaccine.

“The [Brazilian] president also expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of the use of masks during the live broadcast, implying that there was little conclusive evidence of its success in curbing the transmission of the virus,” according to South American news site Infobae.

Bolsonaro has tested positive for the Chinese coronavirus at least two times. After contracting the virus for the first time on July 7, Bolsonaro said he initially suffered from a low-grade fever and mild symptoms. Announcing his positive diagnosis at a press conference held outside on the grounds of Brazil’s presidential palace, Bolsonaro stepped back and removed his mask to demonstrate to the public that he was “absolutely fine” despite the mild symptoms.

He subsequently entered a period of semi-isolation for nearly 20 days while recovering from the virus. During this period, the leader continued to venture out on the grounds of the presidential palace to greet his supporters. A proponent of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as an anti-coronavirus therapy, Bolsonaro said he received the drug as part of his own treatment. The president announced via Twitter on July 25 that he had tested negative for coronavirus.

“I’m healed from Covid. I have antibodies, no problems. In my particular case, I first thank God, and secondly, the medication prescribed by the presidential doctor: hydroxychloroquine,” Bolsonaro said on July 30.

“The following day, I was already OK. If it was a coincidence or not, I don’t know. But it works,” the leader added.

However, just over two weeks later, Bolsonaro said he had tested positive for coronavirus again.

Brazil, the world’s sixth-most populous nation, currently has the second-highest number of officially tallied Chinese coronavirus deaths in the world. This ranking is likely artificially inflated as experts believe that rogue states such as China, Russia, and North Korea have falsified or incorrectly tallied their cases and deaths. The Brazilian Ministry of Health said the country recorded 37,614 new infections and 691 deaths from the Chinese coronavirus on Thursday. The nation now has 171,460 coronavirus deaths.

According to Infobae, Brazil’s health minister General Eduardo Pazuello, “has ruled out that Brazil is in the middle of the second [coronavirus] wave, since the rise in new cases and deaths have occurred mainly in the southeast of the country, the region most affected since the beginning of the pandemic, in states such as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.”

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