Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro suspended the purchase of syringes destined for the COVID-19 vaccination campaign "due to a price increase."
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"The syringes' cost increased absurdly. The Ministry of Health suspended the purchase until their value returns to normal," Bolsonaro said.
During a broadcast message, the far-right-wing president minimized the pandemic's impact on the country and the need for syringe use.
"The most important thing is to treat COVID-19 early with hydroxychloroquine," he said, alluding to the malaria antidote that has no proven effectiveness against the virus.
Bolsonaro denied feeling pressure about the immunization process that started in over 40 nations worldwide and in three countries in the region, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico.
"The vaccines are still in the testing phase, and the laboratories that are providing them are only selling a few thousand doses," he said, adding that "it is a fallacy that countries are vaccinating all their inhabitants."
The vaccination campaign should provide over 100 million doses in the first half of the year. Health authorities have not yet set a start date.
Brazil is the second country worldwide with the most deaths from the disease. In the next hours, the nation will reach 200,000 deaths from COVID-19.