Brazil’s vaccine-skeptic Bolsonaro got the shot, document indicates

February 18, 2023 - 3:44 PM
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Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro looks on during "Power of The People" event hosted by Turning Point USA at Trump National Doral Miami Resort in Doral, Florida, U.S., February 3, 2023. (Reuters/Marco Bello/File Photo)

 A health ministry record indicates that former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a vocal skeptic of COVID-19 vaccines who vowed to never get the jab, may have received one in 2021, the country’s comptroller general’s office said on Friday.

The office said it was examining a vaccine card provided by the health ministry recording the far-right former president’s vaccination, though in a statement it cautioned that the card could have been altered.

It said it had sought information about Bolsonaro’s vaccination record from the health ministry following last month’s inauguration of new leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

“The record exists, that’s as much as we know,” comptroller general’s office head Vinicius Carvalho said during an interview with CNN Brazil.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Bolsonaro made repeated public statements minimizing the importance of vaccines and said he had not and would not get vaccinated himself. He was sick with COVID-19 in 2020.

Bolsonaro was quoted last week by the Wall Street Journal as saying he plans to return to Brazil in March after having spent more than a month in the United States to lead the political opposition to Lula and defend himself against accusations that he instigated violent election-denial protests.

Bolsonaro flew to Florida two days before Lula was sworn in on Jan. 1 and later applied for a six-month tourist visa to continue his stay in the United States.

—Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello; Writing by Brendan O’Boyle; Editing by Will Dunham