Among the most alarming data to have emerged on the management of the outbreak so far is the fact that the government did not respond to 53 of the 81 emails received from biotech company Pfizer regarding the proposed purchase of its coronavirus vaccine, something it did. significantly slow down the supply and administration of vaccines in the country.
Randolfe Rodrigues, senator of the opposition and vice-chairman of the commission of inquiry, defined the consequences of this behavior as “tragic and painful”: to date only 26 percent of Brazilians have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine and it is estimated that the majority of the population over 60 will not have received both doses before September. When Bolsonaro was once asked why the government was blocking the supply of Pfizer’s vaccine, he jokingly replied that vaccines turned people into crocodiles.
Infectious disease specialist Luana Araujo, who attended the hearings in Brasilia, told the commission that “we had the time, we had the tools – an enviable basic healthcare system – and yet we continued to insist on the wrong path.” According to Araujo, the government has “chosen to ignore the experience of the rest of the world” and has continued to manage the pandemic with a “combination of arrogance and ignorance” that has proved “really too dangerous”.
– Read also: The troubles of the Sputnik V vaccine in Brazil
The allegations of mismanagement of the epidemic that emerged from the first weeks of the investigation have heavily damaged the president’s reputation, but it is still too early to understand if Bolsonaro will come out really weakened.
The investigation is expected to end in August but could go on until October. In the end, the commission will suggest a series of indications and recommended actions, including a possible request for indictment or impeachment against Bolsonaro, which could therefore prevent him from running again in the presidential elections next year.
According to some analysts, the damage to Bolsonaro’s reputation due to the investigation may reopen the road to the return to politics of Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, long-time leader of the main Brazilian left-wing party (Workers’ Party), president of Brazil since 2003. to 2011, as well as a great critic of Bolsonaro’s work. According to others, however, Bolsonaro could still come out relatively well.
Matias Spektor, professor of international relations at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas in Rio de Janeiro, told the Financial Times that despite broad consensus that the government handled the pandemic badly, Bolsonaro continues to have 20-30 percent approval among voters. In addition, even if some politicians have tried to exploit the investigation to gain visibility, for the moment none of the president’s allies have decided to leave the government, so a major crisis does not seem to have opened yet.