Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has instigated a verbal attack on COVID-19 vaccines and the pharmaceutical companies making them. He has suggested that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech could turn people who take it into "crocodiles".
This is the not first time Bolsonaro has made controversial statements regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, he branded the coronavirus as 'a little flu'. This week he made clear that he won't be getting the vaccine for himself even though his administration is launching a mass inoculation programme in Brazil.
The Brazilian President said once a COVID-19 vaccine has been certified by the country's regulatory body Anvisa, "it will be available for everyone that wants it. But me, I won't get vaccinated."
Bolsonaro criticised pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. He stated on Thursday, "In the Pfizer contract it's very clear: 'we're not responsible for any side effects'. If you turn into a crocodile, it's your problem,"
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been undergoing trials in Brazil for weeks. The vaccine has already been administered to some people in the United States and the United Kingdom.
"If you become superhuman, if a woman starts to grow a beard or if a man starts to speak with an effeminate voice, they will not have anything to do with it," Bolsonaro said, while taking about vaccine manufacturers.
Bolsonaro launched the COVID-19 immunisation campaign on Wednesday. He the vaccine will be free but it would not be compulsory for all citizens to get it. However, the Brazilian Supreme Court has ruled that the COVID-19 vaccine was obligatory but no one should be forced to take it.
Brazil is one of the countries that have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has recorded more than 7.1 million COVID-19 cases and 185,000 deaths during the pandemic.