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HomeMedico-LegalSupreme Court inquiry into Brazil president linking vaccination to AIDS infection

Supreme Court inquiry into Brazil president linking vaccination to AIDS infection

Brazil’s Supreme Court has opened an inquiry into comments made by President Jair Bolsonaro claiming that COVID-19 vaccines may increase the chance of contracting AIDS.

BBC reports that the comments, made during a social media livestream in October saw him temporarily banned from Facebook and YouTube under their fake news policies. Bolsonaro, who refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19, already faces a separate inquiry into his handling of the pandemic.

The country’s death toll from the pandemic is the second highest in the world, behind the United States. More than 615,000 people have died, and 22,1m have been infected with the virus, although it is thought the true numbers are far higher.

During the livestream on 24 October, he claimed that reports “suggest that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are developing Aids much faster than expected”. The assertion has been strongly rejected by scientists and medical experts.

The embattled president claimed that he was simply quoting from an article in a magazine.

However, in court last Friday (3 December), Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes ruled that Bolsonaro had ‘used the modus operandi of mass dissemination schemes in social networks, which called for further investigation.

De Moraes instructed the country’s leading top prosecutor, Augusto Aras, to try to establish whether the president’s comments were linked to a group of his supporters currently being investigated for the large-scale production of fake news.

The group, dubbed by local media as the Office of Hate, has spread misinformation throughout the pandemic and has called for a military coup giving Bolsonaro, a former army captain, unlimited powers to rule the country.

Investigations into the group have already seen the arrest of a number of the president's allies, including Roberto Jefferson, the head of the right-wing Brazilian Labour Party.

The BBC adds that in October, Brazilian senators voted to recommend charging him over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A special Senate investigative panel backed a report calling for charges to be filed against the president, including crimes against humanity.

 

BBC News article – Bolsonaro: Brazilian Supreme Court opens investigation into vaccine comments (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Brazil's government in denial over COVID-19 catastrophe

 

High COVID-19 mortality rate in children and adolescents — Brazil's syndemic

 

Brazil's COVID-19 catastrophe 'like an atomic bomb'

 

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