Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has confirmed he will not be vaccinated against Covid-19, having previously said he would be the “last Brazilian” to do so.
The far-right leader has generated controversy for downplaying the severity of the virus, despite his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and initially holding himself up.
“I’ve decided not to vaccinate. I’m looking at new studies, I already have the highest immunization, why would I get vaccinated?” The 66-year-old said late Tuesday in an interview with Jovem Pan Radio.
“It would be like betting 10 reais on the lottery to win two. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Bolsonaro, a coronavirus skeptic, had previously claimed that the Pfizer vaccine could turn people into crocodiles due to secondary effects.
Since contracting Covid-19 in July 2020, Bolsonaro has repeatedly claimed that tests have shown he has a large number of antibodies to fight the virus and thus does not require vaccination, some Experts dispute.
Bolsonaro also strongly opposes health passes, which are given to vaccinated people, requiring some large Brazilian cities to access public places.
Bolsonaro told Jovem Pan, “For me, freedom comes before everything else. If a citizen does not want to be vaccinated, it is his right and that is his end.”
Of Brazil’s 213 million population, about 100 million have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while another 50 million have received a single dose.
Last week, the country surpassed 600,000 deaths from Covid-19, the second worst death toll in the world after the United States.
Bolsonaro’s refusal to vaccinate has also drawn criticism from abroad, especially in September when he traveled to New York for the UN General Assembly.
While there, he was photographed eating pizza in an alleyway, something the Brazilian press blamed for being unable to enter a restaurant without vaccinations.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)