President Jair Bolsonaro left for New York on Sunday (19), to participate in the 76th UN General Assembly, without having taken any vaccine against covid-19.
Among the 19 leaders of the G20 (comprised of the 19 main economies plus the European Union) present at the meeting, Bolsonaro is the only one who declared that he did not take and would not take the vaccine to attend the annual event of the United Nations.
There was no official disclosure about the vaccination status of three other leaders who will represent their countries at the assembly: two foreign ministers (from China and Saudi Arabia) and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
However, both the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, and the President of Russia, Vladmir Putin, have had their vaccines. The vaccination situation of the president of China, Xi Jinping, is a mystery: the country has not disclosed whether the president was vaccinated or not. He will not participate in the meeting in person.
There was a great deal of discussion about whether leaders and their diplomatic entourage would have to present their vaccination certificates to enter New York — the city requires proof of vaccination to circulate in closed public spaces. But the UN ended up informing the delegations that there would be a diplomatic exception and the organization would not charge for certificates.
Example for population
Not getting vaccinated or even not disclosing the vaccination status of its leaders is an exception among the main economies of the world.
In the vast majority of countries, leaders have not only taken any of the many covid-19 vaccines available, but have heavily publicized their vaccinations to encourage the population.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, for example, took the first dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in April of this year. It is he who will represent the country at the UN. German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, who will not be in New York this year, was also publicly vaccinated. She took the first dose of AstraZeneca and the second of Moderna.
Although the country is very strict about the right to medical privacy, the disclosure of the leaders’ vaccinations is considered an example for the population.
“And now it may have removed the fear of people, who were or are concerned about this so-called cross-vaccination (taking different doses of vaccines, as recommended by the Ministry of Health in the country),” said the spokesman for the German government at the time. , Steffen Seibert.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also took the first dose of AstraZeneca and the second of Moderna, completing his immunization in July. The country also recommended that those who received the first dose of AstraZeneca take the second dose of another RNA vaccine — from Pfizer or Moderna.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson took both doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. In June, when he took the second dose, he posted a photo on his social networks saying “second dose taken. When it’s your turn, get the vaccine.”
US President Joe Biden took the first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine back in December 2020, when he had already been elected but had not yet taken office. His vaccination was shown live on television.
The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, was vaccinated in May 2021, even though he contracted covid-19 in December 2020 – the vaccine generates a better immune response than the immune response generated by the virus, in addition to protecting against other variants. The WHO recommendation is that even those who have had the disease and have been cured should take the vaccine.
The Prime Ministers of Italy, Mario Draghi, and Japan, Suga Yoshihide, also released their own vaccinations – that is, all the leaders of the G7 countries (group of the most industrialized countries in the world) present at the UN General Assembly.
The presidents of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez, and that of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, —two other Latin American countries in the G20, in addition to Brazil— were also vaccinated against covid-19 and publicized the vaccination.
López Obrador had a marked change in posture. At the start of the pandemic, he minimized the coronavirus and refused to wear a mask in public, as did Bolsonaro. Then he gave up on denying the gravity of the situation.
When he took the first dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, in April this year, he was already defending social distance and advertising the vaccination to encourage Mexicans. “It doesn’t hurt and it helps a lot, it protects us all,” he said. “I appeal to the elderly for all of us to get vaccinated, there is no risk,” said the 67-year-old president.
The president of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, an ally of Bolsonaro and often compared to him (by the New York Times, for example, at the time of the UN General Assembly in 2019), had a different posture than the Brazilian.
While Bolsonaro repeatedly criticized Coronavac, Erdogan took two doses of the vaccine created by Chinese company Sinovac. The second dose was taken in January this year, when the country began a national vaccination campaign.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo also became immunized with Sinovac’s vaccine in January 2021.
The presidents of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, and South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, were also vaccinated and publicized the act to encourage the population. Prime Ministers of Australia, Scott Morrison, and Prime Ministers of India, Narendra Modi, did the same thing.