Brazil’s Health Ministry says Covid vaccines are not effective

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Photo: Arthur Matsuo/Shutterstock

The Brazilian Health Ministry published a technical note on Friday denying the efficacy of vaccines against the coronavirus and praising hydroxychloroquine, instead. The document revives a debate that is already a non-issue in most places around the world, as no scientific evidence has come to the conclusion that hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug, can beat Covid.

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Technical note says vaccines have no proven efficacy against the coronavirus.

The note is a response by the government to a recommendation made by the National Committee for Implementing Technology in the Brazilian Public Health System (Conitec), which in October 2021 condemned so-called “early treatment” for Covid, consisting of a cocktail of drugs with no proven effect against the coronavirus.

Since the early days of the pandemic Mr. Bolsonaro has argued that mixing antimalarial drug chloroquine with ivermectin — an anti-parasitic medicine — and antibiotic azithromycin can produce a “miracle response” to the virus.

The Conitec recommendation against early treatment damaged the relationship between President Jair Bolsonaro — one of its most vocal defenders — and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga. Since then, Mr. Queiroga has toed the line when it comes to his pandemic-related declarations, following his boss in sowing distrust about vaccinating minors and, now, bringing chloroquine back into the debate.