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Bolsonaro Plans to Ignore NYC Vaccine Mandate

'Why would I get vaccinated?' asks Brazilian leader
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2021 12:46 PM CDT
Bolsonaro Plans to Ignore NYC Vaccine Mandate
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends a housing program launch ceremony at the Planalto presidential palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021.   (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

(Newser) – "Just guess which politician hasn’t been vaccinated and is going to expose his country and citizens to yet another international embarrassment?" tweeted Brazilian lawmaker Erika Kokay Thursday. The answer is President Jair Bolsonaro, who is apparently planning to flout New York City's indoor vaccine mandate when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, the Guardian reports. Diplomatic immunity apparently trumps COVID immunity: City officials say the General Assembly Hall is classed as a convention center and is covered by the mandate, but UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says a head of state can't be refused entry based on their vaccination status, reports Reuters.

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The UN has an honor system in place, in which swiping their UN identification card on entry to the hall is considered a declaration that they are fully immunized. Bolsonaro, however, said in a broadcast Thursday night that he isn't vaccinated. "Why would I get vaccinated?" asked the president, who was infected last year and claims that his antibody levels are still so high that vaccination is unnecessary. While UN headquarters is considered international territory and American laws don't apply there, UN officials have promised to abide by local COVID rules.

Last year, Bolsonaro said he would be the "last Brazilian" to be vaccinated, per AFP. Some Brazilians, however, suspect the president isn't being honest about his vaccination status, reports the Guardian. A 100-year secrecy order has been placed on his vaccination records. Bolsonaro insists there is nothing "weird" or "unusual" about the order, per Correio Braziliense. "My vaccination booklet is personal," he says. (In June, Bolsonaro was fined for not wearing a mask at a public gathering.)

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