Brazil’s Supreme Court has ordered an investigation into President Jair Bolsonaro’s false claim that people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 may have a higher risk of contracting AIDS.
Bolsonaro made the untruthful claims in a live video broadcast on multiple social media platforms in October. He was temporarily suspended from both Facebook and YouTube following the comments. Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes launched the inquiry in response to a request by the country’s parliamentary commission which has been investigating Bolsonaro’s government’s response to the devastating Covid-19 pandemic, according to a statement posted from the court’s official Twitter account Friday.
Bolsonaro has been widely criticized at home and abroad for playing down the severity of the virus, including discouraging people to get vaccinated, despite Brazil battling one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world. The parliamentary commission has had access to documents that show the government ignored at least 81 vaccine offers from Pfizer in 2020.
According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS, Covid-19 vaccines approved by health regulators are safe for most people, including those living with HIV, the virus that causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome known as AIDS. Bolsonaro is the only G20 President who claims not to have been vaccinated. Despite that, and Brazil’s delay in starting a vaccination program, 60% of the country’s population has been completely vaccinated, according to Brazil’s Ministry of Health.