The accusations came after the Brazilian health ministry unveiled a vaccination plan, which dozens of consultants claimed they had not approved. The document also outlined a five-month plan to vaccinate 51 million members of priority groups including health professionals and elderly people but didn't provide the date for a wider programme.
The country hasn't signed a contract with Pfizer and has avoided authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine produced in China to vaccinate Brazil’s 212 million citizens and betting almost all of its chips on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, according to the Guardian.
Bolsonaro’s strategy could lead to thousands of unnecessary deaths due to the delay in rolling out vaccinations, reports claim.
“It shows, once again, how disconnected the federal government is from the reality of the pandemic. They still haven’t grasped the severity of what we are going through,” founder of the Question of Science Institute, Natália Pasternak, said.
Pasternak said it was reasonable for Brazil to authorize the AstraZeneca vaccine: “The problem was betting only on them and not striking other deals, knowing that even the AstraZeneca deal [for 100m doses] wouldn’t be enough to vaccinate the whole population.”
“Brazil has put all of its eggs in one basket,” Pasternak added, claiming that the government’s decision to give CoronaVac the cold shoulder is “absurd”.
Brazilian newspaper the Folha de São Paulo branded Bolsonaro as “homicidally negligent”, claiming Brazilians had been “abandoned by the government” and condemned to “watch in distress” as vaccination begins elsewhere.
The Estado de São Paulo lambasted Bolsonaro’s “lethal incompetence”, adding: “We know neither how many vaccines the federal government will have, nor when. There are signs there will be a shortage of needles. And the [health] ministry resists negotiating viable options, such as CoronaVac … for blatantly political motives.”
“There isn’t a single aspect of the handling of this crisis that hasn’t been contaminated by the obscurantism, neglect, incompetence or dishonesty of the president or his puppet in the health ministry,” it said.
To date, the country has confirmed over 6.8 million COVID-19 cases, while more than 181,000 people have died. Over 8,489 new cases were recorded in Brazil over the past day.