2021-09-21 16:31:00 Bolsonaro’s Rejection of Covid Vaccine Creates Awkwardness in N.Y.

Bolsonaro’s Rejection of Covid Vaccine Creates Awkwardness in N.Y.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro opened the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday by defending the use of ineffective coronavirus treatments and responding to criticism of his government’s environmental record.

Brazil’s far-right president said doctors should have been given more leeway in administering untested medications for Covid-19, adding that he was among those who recovered after “off label” treatment with an anti-malaria pill that studies have found ineffective in treating the disease.

“History and science will hold everyone accountable,” Mr. Bolsonaro said, referring to his administration’s handling of the pandemic in South America’s largest country.

Mr. Bolsonaro’s refusal to be vaccinated against the coronavirus has loomed large over his first few days in New York.

It made for an awkward moment during a meeting on Monday with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who praised the AstraZeneca vaccine developed at Oxford University.

During his meeting with Brazil’s president, Mr. Johnson said, “Get AstraZeneca vaccines.” “I’ve had it two times.”

Mr. Bolsonaro said, pointing to himself, “Not yet.”

Brazil’s president has led one of the world’s most chastised pandemic responses. Mr. Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the virus’s threat, railed against quarantine measures, and been fined for refusing to wear a mask in the capital.

Even as the virus overwhelmed hospitals across the country, his government was slow to secure access to coronavirus vaccines. In Brazil, Covid-19 has killed over 590,000 people.

Mr. Bolsonaro, who had a mild case of Covid-19 in July of last year, has stated that he is not in any rush to get vaccinated. Earlier this year, the president stated that he was undecided on getting vaccinated.

In a televised video, he stated, “I already had the virus.” “I believe that after the last Brazilian is vaccinated, if there is a spare shot, I will decide whether or not to be vaccinated.” He went on to say, “that’s the example the boss needs to set.”

This has created logistical issues when it comes to finding a place to eat in New York, where restaurants require proof of vaccination for indoor seating. Mr. Bolsonaro and his entourage have taken the rule in stride. On Sunday, one of his ministers shared a photo of the president and several top aides standing on the street eating pizza.

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Bolsonaro's Rejection of Covid Vaccine Creates Awkwardness in N.Y.