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Fri Nov 26, 2021, 10:44 AM

Bolsonaro Launched A Trumpian Anti-Vaccine Campaign. Brazilians Got The Shot Anyway.

(HuffPost) Far-right Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has warned that COVID-19 vaccines will turn people into crocodiles. He has spread conspiracies that the vaccine could give people AIDS. Bolsonaro has pointedly refused to get vaccinated himself ― at September’s G-20 summit in New York, he was the only world leader present who said he had yet to take the jab.

Bolsonaro has mimicked the worst tendencies of his American idol, former President Donald Trump. But his attempts to foment the sort of skepticism and hesitancy Trump helped generate in millions of Americans have fallen completely flat.

Last week, Brazil reported that 60% of its population is now fully vaccinated, pushing it past the United States, which had a four-month head start. More than 97% of Brazilian adults have received at least one shot, and virtually every adult in São Paulo, the country’s largest city, is inoculated. Polls in July showed that just 5% of Brazilians said they’d never get the vaccine; in the U.S., somewhere between 13% and 19% of Americans still say they won’t.

More than 610,000 Brazilians have died from COVID-19, a death toll that trails only the United States’. But as the U.S. stares down the beginnings of another winter surge, Brazil’s daily case numbers are at their lowest points since this time last year. Daily death tolls in the majority of its states are in the single digits, and special hospital units in former hot spots like Rio de Janeiro are completely empty for the first time since the pandemic began.

That’s a credit to the country’s public health system and cultural faith in vaccines. The question is whether Bolsonaro’s rhetoric will have a corrosive long-term effect. ...........(more)


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