Brazil’s health regulator asks Bolsonaro to withdraw criticism of vaccine

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Anvisa, the head of Brazil’s health regulator, has asked President Jair Bolsonaro, who is skeptical of the vaccine, to retract his remarks criticizing the agency for allowing COVID-19 vaccination in children.

In a letter to Bolsonaro on Saturday, 8/1, retired Rear Admiral Antonio Barra Torres asked the president to substantiate his claim that there were undisclosed “interests” behind the vaccination decision, or to retract his testimony.

Bolsonaro criticized Anvisa on Thursday 6/1 for agreeing to use Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11, because it had never heard of a child dying from COVID-19 before.

“What’s behind this? What’s the point of a vaccine freak?” Bolsonaro said in a radio interview:

Bolsonaro is a far-right leader who boasts of refusing to be vaccinated and often doubts the efficacy and safety of a COVID-19 vaccine. He said the injections could have side effects in children, but did not offer further evidence.

Anvisa and health regulators around the world have found that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for people aged five and over. According to the state council of health ministers, at least 300 children aged 5 to 11 have died from COVID-19 in Brazil.

The Presidency did not respond to the requests. Reuters to comment on the letter [vm/pp]

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