Brazilian President Who Recovered From COVID-19 Says He Won’t Get Vaccine

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Thursday on social media that he won’t get vaccinated for the coronavirus, The Associated Press reported.

Bolsonaro said any vaccine the country’s health agency approves will be free and publicly available, the AP reported. Bolsonaro got infected with COVID-19 in July and was usually went maskless at the presidential palace when interacting with supporters, a practice he changed after getting infected, according to the AP. (RELATED: REPORT: Pfizer Vaccine Could Be Sent Out Mid-December)

“I tell you; I will not take (any vaccine). It is my right and I am sure that Congress will not create difficulties for whoever doesn’t want to take a vaccine,” Bolsonaro said, according to the AP.

“If it is effective, lasting, reliable, whoever doesn’t take it will be doing harm only to himself, and who takes the vaccine will not be infected. There’s nothing to worry about,” Bolsonaro said, according to the AP.

Bolsonaro hasn’t adhered to the majority of scientists and health experts’ advice about curbing social and economic activities, the AP reported. Bolsonaro claims that the pandemic’s effects won’t be as damaging as a lockdown’s.

Brazil has the most deaths from the coronavirus after the U.S. with over 171,000 recorded deaths, according to the AP. Experts have cited multiple studies that masks work to slow the spread, but Bolsonaro expressed doubt about masks.

“The matter of the masks, there will be a serious study sometime to talk about the effectiveness of the mask,” Bolsonaro said, according to the AP. “It is the last taboo to fall.”

The country’s federal government is set to receive up to 100 million of the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine if it’s effective, the AP reported. Pfizer is among developers that are reportedly offering vaccine deals to Bolsonaro’s administration.

Brazilian state Sao Paolo agreed to buy the Sinovac vaccine, developed by a Chinese company, the AP reported.

Health experts said Bolsonaro‘s comments may undermine attempts to reach necessary vaccination levels to stop the virus and may discourage vaccine makers to negotiate with local officials, the AP reported.

The State Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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