As world scampers for vaccine, Bolsonaro working in two modes: denial and bizarre

Edited By: Gravitas desk WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Dec 22, 2020, 01:06 AM(IST)

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro looks on during a ceremony at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil  Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

President Jair Bolsonar is dubbed as Trump of the Topics, but comparing him with President Donald Trump would not be appropriate anymore

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Saudi Arabia Health Minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah, and US Vice President Mike Pence are among the list of world leaders that received coronavirus jab on camera to instil confidence in people's mind.

In another world in Brazil, thousands have flocked to Rio de Janeiro's famed beaches as the summer starts in the Southern Hemisphere. 

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These people are not wearing any masks nor maintaining social distancing, it's just volleyball games and a lot of beach umbrellas.

Also read | Women may grow beard after taking Pfizer vaccine: Jair Bolsonaro

This is a scene in a country whose president has been in denial of the pandemic since forever. 

President Jair Bolsonar is dubbed as Trump of the Topics, but comparing him with President Donald Trump would not be appropriate anymore. 

Bolsonaro is in a league of his own when it comes to denying the severity of this pandemic. 

When Brazil became the world's second most infected country, he was eating out hot dogs and sipping on soft drinks, insisting that the country cannot afford to impose a lockdown. 

It led to several Brazilians demanding a lockdown and to counter these movements, Bolsonrao organised anti-lockdown rallies.

Bolsonaro attended these rallies where he posed for selfies and hugged young children. 

And now, when there is some hope to see the end of this pandemic with the rollout of vaccines, the Brazilian president is saying he will not get inoculated. 

He says he has already had the virus and has developed antibodies, so why should he take the vaccine again. 

"If you do not want to be treated, you have the right not to be treated. I decide, for example, not to do chemotherapy and I decide to die, it's my problem.  And we in the federal government have already informed that, once the vaccines are approved by ANVISA (Health Regulation Agency), the vaccine will be offered to everyone, but those who do not want to take them do not have to. I will not take it. Some people say I'm setting a bad example, who says I'm an idiot, I've already had the virus, I have the antibodies, why take the vaccine again," said Bolsonaro. 

The denial is bad enough and now Bolonaro is sowing scepticism by talking about the potential side effects of this vaccine. 

In one of the very bizarre statements, Bolsonaro has said that there's a possibility that the vaccine can turn people into crocodiles and make women grow a beard and men talk like women. 

He said that if any of this thing happens, it won't be his fault

"And another thing that has to be made very clear here is that there, at Pfizer, it is very clear in the contract - 'we are not responsible for any side effects'. If you become an alligator it is your problem; I am not going to talk about another animal because it would not be wise (in Brazilian slang, the word for deer means gay), if you become a superman, if some women start to grow a beard or if some men start to talk like women it is not going to be my fault. Or worse, they are playing with our immune system. How can you force someone to take a vaccine that hasn't even completed the third phase," he said. 

These are the words of a head of state who is peddling such wild theories and audience is responding with an applause. 

Brazil is the third worst-hit country in the world and the leaders, including Trump, have started taking the pandemic seriously. 

But, Bolsonaro continues to believe in another reality. 

All we can say in conclusion is it's better to grow a beard or even turn into a crocodile, better than being dead. 

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