Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro criticises Covid vaccinations for children.
THE President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, openly criticises Covid vaccinations for children despite his own health minister authorising the start of inoculations for 5 to 11-year-olds in the country.
In fact, Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa, who gave the go-ahead on January 6 one day after the country’s health minister unveiled the plans, came under immediate fire from Bolsonaro, who said he would not be getting his own 11-year-old daughter Laura vaccinated.
News outlet Rappler reports that the president gave a radio interview in which he criticised the decision noting that he believed vaccines could cause side effects in children and that he had not heard of children dying from Covid.
“Are you going to vaccinate your child when the possibility of dying is almost zero? What is behind this? What are the interests of vaccine maniacs?” Bolsonaro stated.
Vaccinations for children in the country are set to start at the end of the month after the Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday, January 5 that 20 million pediatric Pfizer vaccines had been purchased. Despite Bolsonaro’s concerns, Anvisa have found the pediatric vaccines to be safe for the age group.
Speaking again on January 6, this time via social media, Bolsonaro stressed that vaccinations for this age group were not mandatory and children would not be penalised for not getting the jab: “No town mayor or state governor can prevent a child from going to school for not being vaccinated,” he said.
The president said that parents should immediately seek a doctor if their child developed chest pains or shortage of breath and highlighted Pfizer lack of responsibility for vaccine side effects as a worry.
However, Anvisa and the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics said the vaccines are not to be feared but rather the virus is, as according to the National Council of State Health Secretaries, at least 300 children aged 5 to 11 had died in Brazil from COVID-19 by the start of December.
Bolsonaro appears to have a different stance on vaccinations from various other department heads in his country.
For example, the Ministry of Health wanted the vaccines for children to be rolled out in schools for those who wanted to take it while Bolsonaro wanted children to get a written prescription from a doctor first.
Also, Brazil’s Army ordered soldiers to get vaccinated, wear masks and maintain social distance, something opposed by Bolsonaro, according to Rappler.
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