- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he won’t be vaccinated ahead of next week’s UN General Assembly in New York.
- New York currently requires everyone to be vaccinated in indoor businesses.
- UN Secretary General António Guterres told the BBC that he can’t require heads of states to get the shot.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he will address the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week without being vaccinated, which violates the city’s COVID-19 mandate for indoor events.
“Why would I get vaccinated?” he said in an online broadcast after speaking about giving a speech at the UN’s general assembly, according to a translation from The Guardian. “Once everyone has been vaccinated, I’ll decide my future.”
Bolsonaro has refuted the dangers of COVID-19 since it first emerged, calling it as bad as a “little flu” while the virus swept through Brazil at a breakneck pace. He’s also publicly spoken out against the safety of the vaccine, claiming that people who received it could “turn into a crocodile.”
UN Secretary General António Guterres told the BBC that despite New York’s vaccine mandate, he can’t require heads of states to get the shot. New York City officials released strict guidance on Wednesday requiring proof of vaccination for every person entering the UN General Assembly Hall.
The UN’s New York office already requires its staffers to be vaccinated, however the organization’s vaccination enforcement has historically waned for visiting delegates and diplomats amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the New York Times.
The UN General Assembly was entirely virtual in 2020 as the pandemic swept the globe for the first time. While more than 100 world leaders plan to attend this year’s event, numerous leaders still plan on attending virtually.
The general debate, where diplomats from each country speak to the entire chamber, will begin on September 21. The schedule notes that Bolsonaro will be the first of 193 leaders to talk at the event.