Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has often been criticised for his anti-vaccine stance, has said that he won’t inoculate his 11-year-old daughter against Covid infection.
“Children have not been dying in a way that justifies a vaccine for children,” he told reporters in the southern state of Santa Catarina.
Vaccination for children had been a hot topic in Brazil. A government coronavirus advisory body released a note saying that 301 children between the ages of 5 and 11 have died of COVID-19 in Brazil.
The county’s national health regulator Anvisa faced backlash and death threats from Bolsonaro supporters after approving the Pfizer vaccine for children 5 to 11-year-olds earlier this month.
Bolsonaro at that time further added fuel to the fire by saying that he wanted to make public the names of the officials who had signed off on the approval.
On Monday, the 66-year-old right-wing leader said that nation’s health minister Marcelo Queiroga, would divulge on January 5 Brazil’s vaccination plans for 5 to 11-year-olds.
“I’ve talked with Queiroga about this. On the 5th, he should publish a note about how vaccinating children should be carried out,” Bolsonaro said, adding, “I hope there’s no judicial interference. I hope. Because my daughter isn’t getting vaccinated, let me make that very clear.”
On December 23, Queiroga had created controversy by saying that the number of COVID-19 deaths among children did not justify an emergency authorization.
He later said that coronavirus vaccines for children would require a doctor’s prescription, which state health secretaries immediately contradicted.
Bolsonaro has been facing massive protest for his poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic in Brazil.
Earlier, the president earlier downplayed by pandemic by claiming that the COVID-19 was not a ‘big deal’.
He has also, several times, broken Covid restrictions imposed by health experts and has in some ways promoted vaccine hesitancy in Brazil.
(With inputs from agencies)