Fact Check: Can COVID Vaccine Turn Humans Into Crocodiles?

Rio de Janeiro: Even as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro launched the country’s mass coronavirus inoculation programme, he insisted he won’t get the vaccine shot.

Bolsonaro was critical of coronavirus vaccines, which have been developed in less than a year. He was particularly scathing on the one developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, saying that their vaccine could turn people into crocodiles or bearded ladies.

“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,” said Bolsonaro, who tested COVID-positive in July but recovered in three weeks.

The Pfizer vaccine, already being used in Britain and the US, is undergoing tests in Brazil.

“If you become superhuman, if a woman starts to grow a beard or if a man starts to speak with an effeminate voice, they (Pfizer-BioNTech) will not have anything to do with it,” he said.

Once the vaccine has been certified by Brazil’s regulatory agency, it will be available for everyone that wants it, said Bolsonaro. “But me, I won’t get vaccinated.”

“Some people say I’m giving a bad example. But to the imbeciles, to the idiots that say this, I tell them I’ve already caught the virus, I have the antibodies, so why get vaccinated?”

The country’s Supreme Court, however, ruled that the vaccine was obligatory, although it can’t be “forced” on people.

Brazil, in the middle of a second COVID-19 wave, has reported 7.1 million cases and 185,000 deaths so far.

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