A disappointed Bolsonaro breaks silence on vaccine approval

bolsonaro vaccine regulation
President Jair Bolsonaro during an event in São Paulo with supporters. Photo: ABr

In his first remarks after vaccination with the Chinese-made CoronaVac began in Brazil on Sunday, President Jair Bolsonaro tried to avoid bad press after spending months spreading misinformation against immunizers, saying the country will purchase vaccines in accordance with regulator Anvisa’s approval. 

“We will purchase the vaccine, as long as they are available on the market,” he told supporters, adding that the vaccine “belongs to Brazil, and not to any governor”. 

“Despite the vaccine … not ‘despite,’ … Anvisa approved it and there’s nothing else to discuss,” he added.

This was the president’s first public statement since Governor João Doria kickstarted vaccinations in São Paulo on Sunday, moments after Anvisa gave temporary approval for CoronaVac and the AstraZeneca vaccine. The beginning of immunization, followed by pressure from other state governors, forced the Health Ministry to bring its national vaccination plan forward to this afternoon, using the 6 million CoronaVac doses São Paulo’s Butantan Institute has in storage.   

Regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine — which also got the nod from Anvisa and is favored by the federal administration — Mr. Bolsonaro said his cabinet will pursue the rights of contracts signed with Indian producer Serum Institute. 

On Sunday, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello confirmed that diplomatic issues with India delayed the shipment of 2 million doses.

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