‘Bad boy’ Jair Bolsonaro plans to ignore NYC vaccination mandate next week
ByKaren Graham
PublishedSeptember 18, 2021
People walk past flags outside the United Nations headquarters on May 20, 2021 in New York City - Copyright AFP/File CAROL VALADE
Brazil’s Covid-unvaccinated President Jair Bolsonaro said Thursday he will attend next week’s United Nations conclave in New York, effectively defying city authorities who recently announced proof-of-vaccination requirements for all attending leaders and diplomats.
President Jair Bolsonaro is apparently planning to flout New York City’s indoor vaccine mandate when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, the Guardian reports. 
He is the only G20 leader to have publicly said he has not been vaccinated against the coronavirus that has killed nearly 600,000 Brazilians, although the decision to place a 100-year secrecy order on his immunization records means many citizens doubt that claim.
AFP is reporting that last year, Bolsonaro said he would be the “last Brazilian” to be vaccinated. After having been infected with the coronavirus in July 2020.
“Why would I get vaccinated?” Brazil’s far-right president declared during an online broadcast Thursday night, claiming his antibody levels were so high that it was unnecessary. “Once everyone has been vaccinated, I’ll decide my future,” Bolsonaro added, using his finger to wipe his nose.
President Jair Bolsonaro, who had the virus last year, has said he would be the “last Brazilian” to get vaccinated – Copyright AFP/File Aamir QURESHI
The UN’s Honor System has crashed
Dozens of heads of state and government and foreign ministers, accompanied by countless diplomats, are due to be in New York for the annual high-level gathering. 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. 
Now keep in mind that a number of heads of state are staying away from the meeting and sending a video statement instead because of the coronavirus pandemic. The U.N. headquarters in Manhattan is also considered international territory and is not subject to U.S. laws.
However,  U.N. officials have previously pledged to abide by local and national guidance when it came to the pandemic, according to Reuters.
General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid notified the 193-member U.N. member states earlier this week of the city’s requirement to have all delegates show proof of vaccination, but Russia squawked about the requirement being discriminatory.
This led to Secretary-General António Guterres telling Reuters in an interview on Wednesday that the U.N. Secretariat “cannot tell a head of state if he is not vaccinated that he cannot enter the United Nations.”
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (R) has launched fiery attacks on the Supreme Court and the country’s election system, prompting Human Rights Watch to warn that he is “threatening democratic rule” – Copyright AFP/File CAROL VALADE
Bolsonaro may be shooting himself in the foot
Shooting oneself in the foot is akin to giving someone enough rope and they will end up hanging themselves – and this is what may happen to the Brazillian president. Bolsonaro’s decision to brush off Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandates has already created a lot of public criticism in Brazil, and this will not help his image or popularity, which has been on the decline.
“Just guess which politician hasn’t been vaccinated and is going to expose his country and citizens to yet another international embarrassment?” tweeted Erika Kokay, a congresswoman from the leftist Workers’ party (PT).
While Bolsonaro made a speech at the General Assembly in 2019 that attacked the media and anything else then-president Trump didn’t like, this year, he plans to try cozying up to President Joe Biden, addressing themes like climate change, sustainable development, and the fight against deforestation.
In this article:
General Assembly meeting
ignore vaccine mandate
Jair Bolsonaro
Proof of vaccination
United Nations
Karen Graham
Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.
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