On January 17 nurse Monica Calazans became the first person vaccinated against COVID-19 in Brazil. The procedure took place during a much-awaited ceremony in São Paulo. However, after months of denial and heel-dragging from the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s late entry into the global race for vaccines could prove to be fatal for thousands of Brazilians.

To date, over 260,000 people have died of Covid-19, a disease that Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, once called a “little flu”. Since the start of the pandemic, Bolsonaro denied scientific evidence and refused to comply with basic health measures, including wearing a mask in public or avoiding crowds. Even after he and several members of the cabinet came down with the virus, Bolsonaro continued to oppose all measures to contain the pandemic and to hinder efforts to start the vaccination in the country. Moreover, he argued that the lockdown would affect the economy.

Full article at Counterpunch’s website. Date of publication: 18/03/2021.

*Originally published at America’s Program website on 12/03/2021.

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