Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has claimed that the suicide of a patient during coronavirus vaccine trials in the country could be a “side effect” of the COVID-19 treatment he was given.
The Brazilian trial of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine was halted after a 33-year-old volunteer committed suicide on 29th October.
He was found to have died after ingesting substances such as opioids, sedatives and alcohol.
The President’s statements appearing to link the death with the vaccine came after it was revealed that one in five COVID-19 patients develop mental health problems within three months of being diagnosed.
In addition, for 5 per cent of survivors, it was the first time they had been diagnosed with a mental health issue, according to researchers at the University of Oxford and NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre.
President Bolsonaro was a vocal critic of what he described as hysteria over the virus made his latest claim on 12th November on his daily livestream on social media.
Speaking of the suicide death that caused the halting of testing of a new Chinese vaccine, he said: “It could be the side effect of the vaccine, too. It could be anything. I don’t know if they’ve reached a conclusion, but clarify it and go back to researching the vaccine, the Coronavac, from China.”
The Brazilian added: “They’re trying to investigate it, because when a person commits suicide, they usually have a history of depression: his woman left him, her husband left her. A number of things: family history, they lost their job, they lost everything. Let’s find out the cause of suicide and then, obviously, being suicide, it has nothing to do with the vaccine.”
Bolsonaro also denied accusations he had celebrated the man’s death, and claimed he had not written the post published to his Facebook page on 10th November that read: “Death, disability, abnormality. This is the vaccine that [Governor of Sao Paulo] Doria wanted to force all Paulistanos to take. The President said that the vaccine could never be mandatory. Another win for Jair Bolsonaro.”
The Brazilian president said in the livestream: “The vaccine seems to have something weird going on. I’m not going to say anything now in order to avoid controversy and allegations I’m politicising the issue of the vaccine.
“There are those who have cowardly alleged that I celebrated the death of a person. Where is a video of mine, an audio of mine or a publication of mine that shows that? I pasted third-party material in my reply to a Facebook member, which wasn’t celebrating anything either, and a large part of the press took the angle that I celebrated the death of a person.”
The Brazilian President went on to say in his livestream that he would authorise the purchase of the Chinese vaccine if approved by the relevant authorities and if its price were reduced.
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Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
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