“I’m not going to get a vaccine, period. If my life is on the line? It’s my problem”.
Before the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court established in December 2020 that the Covid-19 vaccination was going to be mandatory for its population, the country’s president stated the above mentioned. It’s true that vaccination tends to be a personal decision, but it’s a dangerous lie to state that it’s an individual problem. Besides jeopardizing the health of the risk groups, it also compromises the great effort to end the coronavirus pandemic. It’s interesting to note that the legal punishment of the enforcement of the Covid-19 vaccine is not based on forcing the person to vaccinate but to restrict that person’s social performance in actions such as the prohibition of entering a certain establishment or the prevention of registration in a public school.
“We will not buy the vaccine from China and it is my decision. I do not believe that it transmits enough security to the population. There is a very big discredit, because, as said by many, this virus was born there“.
This vaccine, referred to as “the vaccine from
China” by Bolsonaro, is the CoronaVac. It was produced by the Chinese institute Sinovac and the Butantan institute from São Paulo together. It’s not the only vaccine that has been approved in Brazil, but it’s the only one that has been applied nationally. Its first application was on the 18th of January in São Paulo. Bolsonaro insisted on calling it the Chinese vaccine even though it was fabricated in combination with a Brazilian institute. In addition, we can see in the aforementioned quote that he has the intention of ruining the credibility of the CoronaVac vaccine by trying to establish a link between the “Chinese origin” and low trustworthiness.
“Death, disability, an anomaly. This is the vaccine that Doria (Governor of the State of São Paulo) wanted to force all São Paulo residents to take. The president said the vaccine could never be mandatory. One more that Jair Bolsonaro wins“.
Mr. President, is this a game for you?
When one of the Brazilian volunteers of the CoronaVac vaccine unexpectedly died during the vaccine’s trial, triggering a temporal suspension of its tests, the aforesaid is what Bolsonaro argued when posed the question of whether Brazil would buy and produce the CoronaVac vaccine if scientists discovered that it was safe and that it made the population immune to the virus. It was later found out that the death of the volunteer didn’t present any type of relation with CoronaVac’s immunizing agent.
“Dear Governor of São Paulo, no one is going to get your vaccine, alright? Look for another person to do that. And I, who am the government, the money is not mine, it is the people’s, and it will not buy your vaccine either, alright? Find another one to pay for the vaccine”.
The vaccine referred here is once again CoronaVac. This vaccine was, until the beginning of its application, the object of internal political disputes. Bolsonaro repeated once and again that the vaccine was the Governor of São Paulo’s, trying to allude to the idea of it not being part of Brazil’s united process of immunization. He always made whatever was possible in his hands in order to delay the authorization of this vaccine specifically. We can notice the government’s resistance to CoronaVac in its non-inclusion in the 2021 National Immunization Plan.
“In the Pfizer contract, it is quite clear; “we (Pfizer) are not responsible for any side effects.” If you turn into an alligator, that’s your problem. If you become Superman, if a woman grows a beard, or if some men start talking with a high-pitched voice, they (Pfizer) have nothing to do with it”.
With this quote, we can see a clear discouragement towards vaccination. Bolsonaro supports his anti-scientific denier posture by providing extreme hypothetical situations whose intention is to inflict the sensation of fear among the Brazilian population. These affirmations can put at risk the part of the population of Brazil who is “blindly in love” with Bolsonaro, meaning that they believe whatever comes out of the President’s mouth without resorting to any type of critical thinking. Scientifically speaking, it’s also dangerous to the population as a whole since scientists affirm that a certain percentage of the population needs to be immune in order to achieve the so-called herd immunity.
“Those who are right-wing take chloroquine, those on the left-wing, Tubaína (soda from São Paulo).”
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic started, Bolsonaro hasn’t failed to continuously recommend medical treatments that lack evidence in their efficacy. His favorite medication to prescribe is chloroquine. The ingestion of chloroquine has not been shown to have any medical efficacy and it has been documented that its excessive ingestion may lead to death.
Unfortunately, Jair Messias Bolsonaro’s quotes about the coronavirus pandemic do get better than this.
“I’m in the risk group. I’ve never neglected it. I knew that one day I would get the virus. Unfortunately, I think almost all of you will get it one day. What are you afraid of? Face it! (…) I’m sorry. I’m sorry about the deaths. People die every day from a number of causes. That’s life, that’s life.”
“The virus is like the rain. It comes and you will get wet, but you will not die drowned.”
“The virus is there, we will have to face it, but face it like a man, man, not a boy. Let’s face the virus with reality. It’s life, we’re all gonna die someday.”
When asked about the number of new coronavirus cases that day in Brazil, Bolsonaro replied: “Yo, yo, yo, man. I ain’t no gravedigger, alright?”
“From my athletic track record, if I was infected by the virus, I wouldn’t have to worry. I’d feel nothing. I would be, at most, affected by a little flu or cold, as the well-known doctor of that well-known television said.”