Saturday, June 3

President of Brazil says it “doesn’t make sense” to get vaccinated | Jair bolsonaro

More than 600,000 of its citizens have lost their lives to a Covid-19 outbreak that he once called a “little flu,” but the science-denying president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has announced that he will refuse to get vaccinated, saying it doesn’t make sense ”for me to do it.

“Regarding the vaccine, I have decided not to have it anymore,” said the 66-year-old populist. saying a right-wing radio station on Tuesday. “I’ve been looking for new studies … Why should I get vaccinated?” He said his antibody levels were already “through the roof” due to a past infection. “It would be the same as betting 10 reais (£ 1.30) on the lottery to win two. It doesn’t make sense. “Bolsonaro said he was not against vaccines, but opposed what he called the” vaccine buying frenzy. “

Death toll in Brazil

His comments, which came just days after the Covid death toll in Brazil surpassed 600,000, sparked outrage, with many accusing him of trying to distract himself from issues like rising hunger, poverty and inflation.

“It is a stupid and selfish decision, because vaccination is not just about protecting yourself. Vaccination is about protecting those around you, ”said Natália Pasternak, head of a civil society group called Question of the Institute of Sciences.

Pasternak said Bolsonaro’s claim that his supposedly high levels of antibodies made vaccination unnecessary was misinformed and fallacious. “The level of antibodies in your blood is not a metric to understand whether someone is protected or not. Antibodies rise and fall according to your exposure to the virus … so constantly measuring the level of antibodies in your blood is not what will tell you whether or not you are protected. “

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Pasternak, a visiting scholar from Columbia University, added: “What will tell you whether or not you are protected is whether you have memory cells, a sufficient number cellular response, and this is not measured by a simple antibody test. ”

A recent study in the UK suggested that a previous infection does not necessarily protect a person against Covid in the long term, especially when caused by worrying new variants.

President Jair Bolsonaro
President Jair Bolsonaro: ‘Why should I get vaccinated?’ Photography: Joédson Alves / EPA

Brazil’s transmission rate this week fell to 0.6, its lowest level since April 2020An achievement that experts say is largely the result of an impressive mass vaccination campaign by the South American country’s NHS-inspired public health service.

More than 72% of Brazilians, 154 million people, have received at least one injection and 47% have been fully vaccinated. More than 253 million doses have been administered, although Bolsonaro says he has not received any, despite being eligible since April.

Pasternak doubted that Bolsonaro’s behavior affected the way Brazilians have adopted Covid vaccines. “Brazilians are extremely pro-vaccines and this is the result of 30 or 40 years of a very active national immunization program that left Brazilians very comfortable and very in favor of vaccination,” he said.

But what Bolsonaro is doing could be the seed of anti-vaccine sentiment in the future. Brazil could find itself in the position that the United States or France were in 20 years ago, at the beginning of an anti-vax movement that today has condemned the United States to the ridiculous situation of having a large number of vaccines, but watching people who have refused to do so. be vaccinated die.

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He added: “We must not take this lightly. We need to think about what the impact of this could be in 10 years. With these types of statements, the president is opening the door for the anti-vax movement to take root in Brazil ”.

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