Bolsonaro's rejection of Covid vaccine creates embarrassment in New York

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil launched the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday by defending the use of ineffective drugs to t...


President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil launched the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday by defending the use of ineffective drugs to treat the coronavirus and pushing back against criticism of his government’s environmental record.

Brazil’s far-right president said doctors should have been given more leeway to administer drugs not tested for Covid-19, adding that he was among those who recovered after “off-label” treatment with an antimalarial pill that studies have found ineffective in treating the disease.

“History and science will hold everyone accountable,” said Bolsonaro, whose handling of the pandemic in South America’s largest country has been widely criticized.

Mr Bolsonaro’s decision not to get the coronavirus vaccine came about during his early days in New York. It was an awkward moment during a meeting on Monday with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who praised the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed at the University of Oxford.

“Get AstraZeneca vaccines,” Johnson said when meeting with the Brazilian president. “I’ve had it twice.”

Mr. Bolsonaro pointed to himself and said, “Not yet.”

The Brazilian president has led one of the world’s most criticized responses to the pandemic. Mr Bolsonaro has repeatedly played down the threat posed by the virus, denounced the quarantine measures and was fined for refusing to wear a mask in the capital.

His government was slow to secure access to coronavirus vaccines even as the virus overwhelmed hospitals across the country. The Covid-19 has killed more than 590,000 people in Brazil.

Mr. Bolsonaro, who had a mild case of Covid-19 in July of last year, said he was in no rush to get the shot. Earlier this year, the president said he was not set on getting the shot.

“After the last Brazilian gets vaccinated, if there is a spare vaccine, I will decide whether or not to get the vaccine,” he said. said in a TV video, adding: “this is the example that the boss must provide.”

Its unvaccinated status has caused logistical problems when it comes to finding a place to eat in New York City, where restaurants require customers to show proof of vaccination for indoor seats. Mr. Bolsonaro and his group of travelers eagerly adopted the rule. On Sunday, one of his ministers posted a photo on Twitter of the president and several of his key aides eating pizza standing in the street.

“A luxurious dinner in New York,” joked Minister Luiz Ramos.

On Tuesday, Mr. Bolsonaro began his speech by telling the assembly that his nation was unfairly portrayed in the press.

“I came here to show a different Brazil than what is shown in the newspapers and on television,” he said. “Brazil has changed a lot since we took office in January 2019.”

Mr. Bolsonaro’s government has weakened enforcement of environmental laws and emptied the agencies responsible for enforcing them. Still, on Tuesday, he argued that Brazil should be applauded for how much of its forests have remained intact and said the country could sustainably develop land in ecologically critical regions like the Amazon.

“The future of green jobs is in Brazil,” he said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Bolsonaro's rejection of Covid vaccine creates embarrassment in New York
Bolsonaro's rejection of Covid vaccine creates embarrassment in New York
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