RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil–The highly eccentric, coronavirus-sceptic Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has admitted that the COVID-19 vaccine should be accessible to all Brazilians, but says that those who get the jab must accept personal responsibility as the manufacturer is not responsible for any side effect.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro slammed the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, doubling down on his early claim that manufacturers are not responsible for any unexpected side effects, AFP reported on Friday. Expressing his distrust to drug manufacturers, he bizarrely suggested that vaccinations could turn people into crocodiles.
“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. 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 complained.
Bolsonaro stated that a vaccination won’t be compulsory in the nation but the medication should be available to anyone who wants to be immunized. Last week, Bolsonaro declared that he would not receive the vaccine.
On December 13, the Brazilian health ministry announced a vaccination plan involving a five-month term to vaccinate 51 million people in priority groups such as health professionals and the elderly. The plan was criticized as there hasn’t been any date for universal vaccinations.
Brazilian authorities have committed about $390 million to buy 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and set up production at the Fiocruz Institute. In addition, Brazil expects to receive 42.5 million doses of the vaccine through the Covax initiative and is in talks with Pfizer to purchase 70 million doses of their vaccine.
Bolsonaro, who showed skepticism about the coronavirus pandemic and restrictive anti-pandemic measures, tested positive for COVID-19 in July.
Brazil has the world’s second-highest COVID-19 death toll, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University. To date, over 7.2 million COVID-19 cases have been reported, along with at least 186,356 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.