BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday evening that he will not take a coronavirus vaccine, the latest in a series of statements he has made expressing skepticism toward coronavirus vaccination programs.
In statements broadcast live over multiple social media platforms, the right-wing leader added that Congress was unlikely to require Brazilians to take a vaccine.
Brazil has the second highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world, and Bolsonaro has for months played down the seriousness of the pandemic despite being infected with the virus in July.
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“I’m telling you, I’m not going to take it. It’s my right,” he said.
Bolsonaro also expressed skepticism over the effectiveness of mask wearing in the broadcast, implying there was little conclusive evidence of the effectiveness of masks in stemming the transmission of the virus.
The president has repeatedly said Brazilians will not be required to be vaccinated when a coronavirus vaccine becomes widely available. In October, he joked on Twitter that vaccination would be required only for his dog.
(Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)