Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has said that he will not vaccinate his 11-year-old daughter against Covid-19 and stated an unscientific claim that there have not been enough child fatalities to justify inoculation of children.
But the Brazilian leader said in Santa Catarina on Monday that “children have not been dying in a way that justifies a vaccine” for them.
His statement came a week before Brazil rolls out a Covid vaccination campaign for children in the age group of 5-11 years. The vaccination drive was approved earlier this month.
Mr Bolsonaro said that the details of the campaign, and how it will be carried out, will be shared by the country’s health minister Marcelo Queiroga on 5 January.
The health minister had sparked a controversy last week when he said that the number of Covid deaths among children did not justify emergency authorisation of the drug. Mr Queiroga said that a doctor’s prescription would be needed to vaccinate children — a claim contradicted by his health secretaries shortly after.
"I’ve talked with Queiroga about this. On the 5th, he should publish a note about how vaccinating children should be carried out," Mr Bolsonaro said on Monday. “I hope there’s no judicial interference. I hope. Because my daughter isn’t getting vaccinated, let me make that very clear.”
A fierce critic of Covid-19 safety protocols like lockdowns, mask usage and vaccines, the Brazilian president has often questioned the efficacy of the Covid vaccine and previously even claimed that the Pfizer vaccine could turn people into crocodiles due to secondary effects.
In October, Mr Bolsonaro said he will not take the Covid vaccine and that he will be the “last Brazilian” to do so.
The controversial statements by the leader have led to divisive stands on Covid vaccine among the population. Though a majority of Brazilians support vaccines, Mr Bolsonaro’s core followers have followed in his footsteps and denounced the drug.
The South American country has recorded a total of 22,250,218 Covid-19 infections and 618,797 deaths till Tuesday, according to the data by Johns Hopkins coronavirus resource centre. It has the second most fatalities in the world, while in terms of total infections, Brazil is behind the US and densely populated India.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies