The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, revealed this Friday that his wife Michelle was vaccinated against the coronavirus in the United States and for that decision received a wave of criticism from politicians and health workers, who rated the fact of “absurd” and “contempt“to the public health of the country.
The decision of the first lady contrasted with that of the president, one of the few South American heads of state who not vaccinated yet and that, as he says, will do it when the last of the Brazilians is immunized.
“Taking a vaccine is a personal decision. My wife (Michelle Bolsonaro), for example, decided to take it in the United States. I did not take it, “Bolsonaro declared in an interview published by Veja magazine.
Had she wanted to, the first lady could have been vaccinated in Brasilia, where immunization against the coronavirus for her age (39 years) has been available from July 23.
Although the head of state did not specify it, it is presumed that his wife applied the dose this week in the United States, where she traveled as part of the official delegation to attend the UN General Assembly in New York, who returned without the Minister of Health because he had to stay in quarantine, after testing positive for Covid-19.
Also today it was known that the deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro, one of the five children of the president and a member of the delegation who traveled to the United States, tested positive for Covid-19 and was treated in the Brazilian capital.
The decision of the first lady to get vaccinated in the United States was criticized by Brazilian politicians and infectologists, who considered it “absurd” and a “contempt“by the public health system.
“That scene of the first lady getting vaccinated in the United States It is unfortunate, devalues the health authorities, devalues a conquest of the country that is already more than 30 years old, such as the National Immunization Program “, declared Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, vice president of the Parliamentary Investigation Commission (CPI) of the Brazilian Legislative, in charge of Investigate alleged government irregularities in the management of the pandemic in the second country in the world with the most deaths from the pandemic.
Senator Omar Aziz, president of the ICC, congratulated the first lady for getting vaccinated, and later criticized her for doing it abroad: “Someone had to tell him that the vaccine applied in the United States it is the same as that applied in Brazil“, he ironized.
And he added: “It could well have been vaccinated in Brazil and show it to everyone, to set a good example. If it had been like that, we would have seen an act of patriotism for real, not out of the mouth, “according to the news portal G1.
For Renato Kfouri, infectologist and director of the Brazilian Immunization Society, the decision of the first lady is “an absurdity”, while emphasizing that the vaccines applied in Brazil are safe and that there is no reason to apply them in another country.
An opinion shared by Rodrigo Stabeli, researcher and director of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), the largest medical research center in Latin America, who highlighted the value of the Brazilian public system.
“What is important to note is that Bolsonaro speaks with his followers, people who, like him, think they are rich in Brazil and can take a first class plane and go to the United States to get vaccinated. Public health, here represented by Fiocruz, the Instituto Butantan and Anvisa, speaks to the Brazilian people to protect themselves from Covid with the vaccines available in the public system, which are of the same quality as those offered in other countries, “he said.
The speech before the UN
In his Tuesday speech to the United Nations, Bolsonaro exposed his denial of Covid-19, defended the use of drugs that were not yet officially approved to treat it, and he opposed the so-called “health passport”.
With close to 593,000 dead and more than 21.3 million infected, Brazil is the second country in the world in number of fatalities and the third in cases, after the United States and India.
The country has about 213 million inhabitants, of which, according to official data, about 148 million have received the first dose and another 85 million have the full schedule.