On Friday, a Brazilian Supreme Court decision ordered that President Jair Bolsonaro be investigated for saying during a live broadcast on numerous social media platforms in October that COVID-19 immunizations could increase the risk of catching AIDS.
Following his comments, Bolsonaro was temporarily suspended from both Facebook and YouTube. He has refused to take the vaccine.
Justice Alexandre de Moraes made the decision in response to a request from a Senate investigative committee, known in Portuguese as a CPI, which found in October that Bolsonaro committed nine crimes, including crimes against humanity, in connection with his widely criticised handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 vaccinations approved by health regulators are safe for most people, including those living with HIV, the virus that causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome known as AIDS, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS.
In October, the CPI handed over its roughly 1,300-page report to the office of Brazil’s prosecutor-general (PGR), though few expect any serious action given that Bolsonaro nominated the country’s current top prosecutor.
Because the Supreme Court does not conduct its own investigations, Moraes’ decision means that he will be carefully supervising the PGR probe.
“It is essential that documentation showing the state of the inquiry in question be given in order for court supervision to be carried out in an effective and thorough manner,” Moraes added.