Brasilia, December 19: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has said the vaccine against coronavirus (COVID-19), developed by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in collaboration with German biotech company BioNTech, can turn people into crocodiles or bearded ladies. Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine has been undergoing trials in Brazil for weeks. It has received emergency use authorisation in the United States, UK, Canada and Saudi Arabia. ‘COVID-19 Vaccine Will Be Free, Non-Mandatory in Brazil’, Says President Jair Bolsonaro.

"In the Pfizer contract, it's very clear: 'we're not responsible for any side effects.' If you turn into a crocodile, it's your problem," Jair Bolsonaro was quoted by news agency AFP as saying. "If you become superhuman, if a woman starts to grow a beard or if a man starts to speak with an effeminate voice, they will not have anything to do with it," the Brazilian President added. Brazil Government Outlines Plan for Coronavirus Vaccinations.

Bolsonaro, who had recovered from coronavirus after testing positive, has been sceptical of the virus. He had called it a "little flu". This week, he insisted he would not get vaccinated. "It (COVID-19 vaccine) will be available for everyone that wants it. But me, I won't get vaccinated," he said. "Some people say I'm giving a bad example. But to the imbeciles, to the idiots that say this, I tell them I've already caught the virus, I have the antibodies, so why get vaccinated?" he argued.

Bolsonaro has asserted that there are enough resources available with the Brazilian government to vaccinate everyone. Earlier this month, Brazil's health authorities announced that the country was going to get the first batch of 15 million doses of the Oxford University and AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in the first two months of 2021. A total of 100 million doses are expected to arrive in Brazil in the first half of next year.

As of Saturday morning, Brazil has recorded 7,162,978 COVID-19 cases. The country currently accounts for the world's second-highest number of fatalities at 185,650.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 19, 2020 08:38 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website