What is more horrific in the current context, however, is that Bolsonaro should have refused any Covid-19 vaccination saying that he has had Covid-19 before and hence has the antibodies and doesn’t need the vaccine
After badly mismanaging the government’s Covid-19 response, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is now stoking vaccine hesitancy—citing an alleged clause Pfizer has put in the contract for its vaccine, that it won’t be responsible for any side-effects, Bolsonaro made some bizarre side-effect analogies. He said that his government wouldn’t be responsible if Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine turned people into crocodiles or caused women to grow beards or men to speak in an effeminate voice. It is hard to fathom which is more outlandish—the claim that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is a lizard in a human suit or Bolsonaro’s hyperbole. One would like to think of it as hyperbole, but Bolsonaro has an illustrious record of absolutely ridiculous statements; he has downplayed the pandemic as a “little flu”, called Amazon land diversion and the horrific fire that gutted large swathes of it “a pack of lies”, he has even called for military rule in Brazil after endorsing an anti-democracy rally. And all this was just in 2020. Before that, he has made rape remarks to a female fellow-legislator, endorsed extrajudicial killings, made homophobic remarks, and called for the assassination of a former president.
What is more horrific in the current context, however, is that Bolsonaro should have refused any Covid-19 vaccination saying that he has had Covid-19 before and hence has the antibodies and doesn’t need the vaccine. Such massaging of the truth is downright dangerous. Across the world, the scientific consensus is that the presence of antibodies from a previous infection is not guaranteed over a long period, one that may be possible with vaccines. Against the backdrop of growing vaccine hesitancy, the president of the country with the third-largest number of infections in the world, undermining trust in vaccines promises disaster.