Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's president
Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's president Reuters

In another one of his controversial statements, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said that he has no intention of being vaccinated against coronavirus, The Guardian reports.

Bolsonaro, who recently recovered from Covid-19 himself, added that his government was unlikely to make vaccination mandatory.

“I’m telling you, I’m not going to take it. It’s my right,” he said.

Bolsonaro also expressed skepticism over the efficacy of wearing face masks, noting that there is little conclusive evidence of the effectiveness of masks in stemming the transmission of the virus. A recent study confirmed his allegations with regard to protection for the wearer of a mask, which was found to confer a maximum advantage of around 20% (and probably much less). The study was designed to detect a rate of 50% efficacy, which is the standard that the FDA is requiring of coronavirus vaccines as a minimum level of protection to qualify them for approval.

The study did not relate to the effect of mask wearing as "source control" i.e. in preventing someone with coronavirus from transmitting it to others, by himself wearing a mask. Studies that have examined source control have almost exclusively been conducted in laboratory conditions, casting doubt on the relevance of their conclusions "in the real world" where even those who wear masks often do so improperly and fail to exchange them often enough, or to take care not to contaminate their hands when placing and removing them.

The Brazilian president has repeatedly said that Brazilians will not be required to be vaccinated when a coronavirus vaccine becomes widely available, and last month, he joked on Twitter that vaccination would be required only for his dog.