POLITICS
21/09/2021 15:06 BST

Boris Johnson Needles Brazil's Anti-Vax President While Promoting Vaccine

The prime minister not-so-subtly put the pressure on Jair Bolsonaro before the UN General Assembly.

Boris Johnson repeatedly promoted AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine in an awkward meeting on Monday with Brazil’s anti-vaccine president, Jair Bolsonaro

During a gathering at the UK diplomatic residence in New York City before the UN General Assembly, Johnson “effectively challenged” the notorious right-wing leader to get inoculated, Sky News reported.

Johnson was relentless in needling his counterpart, urging observers to get the shot while noting directly to Bolsonaro that he got the shots “twice.”

That prompted Bolsonaro to point at himself, wag his finger, and reply, “Not yet.”

Bolsonaro, who tested positive for Covid-19 in July 2020, has pushed back against vaccination. He’s claimed that his natural immunity is sufficient and has sown doubt about the Pfizer shots in particular to his citizens, snidely telling them it’s their problem if they turn into reptiles.

The Brazilian leader has been accused of spreading Covid-19 misinformation and mishandling the pandemic while his country’s coronavirus cases spiralled out of control. He has called the global health crisis a minor problem and claimed early on that Brazilians had natural immunity.

Johnson also contracted coronavirus in March 2020 and nearly died. Still, he rolled back several safety restrictions in July but is reportedly considering new measures over the fear of an upcoming winter surge.

Johnson has also been criticised for his government’s response of the pandemic.