In the capital Brasília and several cities of Brazil, protests were held against President Jair Bolsonaro demanding impeachment because of his inability to combat coronavirus, which were attended by tens of thousands of people.
The protests took place against the backdrop of a parliamentary investigation against Bolsonaro, which is also associated with the ineffectiveness of the fight against COVID-19. The Brazilian leader is of the opinion that the lockdown will do more damage to the economy than the consequences of the pandemic.
The head of the Butantan Institute, Dimas Covas, said Bolsonaro was to blame for the delay in the vaccination campaign. The scientist claims that in August 2020, he offered to the government the supply of 100 million doses of CoronaVac vaccine, which Butantan produces under license from the Chinese company Sinovac. Covas indicated that he could have delivered the first five million doses of the drug by early December.
However, he said, Bolsonaro replied that he would never buy a Chinese vaccine. Covas added that with the consent of the president, Bhutantan would have delivered 100 million doses of CoronaVac by March 30. Data released by Butantan Institute showed that its vaccine has an efficacy of just 50.7 percent and has proved to be effective against the P1 and P2 variants that are prevalent in Brazil. This means the vaccine is less effective at quelling the disease, putting Brazilians at risk.
To date, Brazil has received 46 million doses of vaccine, including due to a shortage of raw materials. The second component of the drug has now been received by only 10% of the country’s adult population.
Earlier, Pfizer’s Latin America CEO Carlos Murillo also accused Bolsonaro of ignoring the vaccine offer. The company could have delivered 1.5 million doses in December 2020. However, Pfizer has delayed supplies to Europe and is planning to supply to India only in July.
Last week, Bolsonaro was fined by the State of Maranhao for failing to adhere to state health safety regulations at a public event. Bolsonaro had handed out rural property titles in Acailandia, some 500 kilometres (310 miles) from Sao Luis, capital of Maranhao state.
During the pandemic in Brazil, almost 460 thousand people died from COVID-19, the country ranks second in the world after the United States in this indicator. Brazil is in third place in the world in terms of the number of infections; the coronavirus has been detected in almost 16 million of its inhabitants.