RIO DE JANEIRO — Facebook and Instagram have removed from their platforms a live broadcast that Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro delivered in which he said people in the U.K. who have received two coronavirus vaccine doses are developing AIDS faster than expected.
Facebook’s press office confirmed in an emailed statement to The Associated Press that the content was removed Sunday night because it violated Facebook policy regarding COVID-19 vaccines.
“Our policies don’t allow claims that COVID-19 vaccines kill or seriously harm people,” the statement said. The company didn’t respond to AP questions regarding why three days elapsed before the much-criticized content was removed nor whether language barriers played a role, as Bolsonaro was speaking in Portuguese.
The claim was among the most bizarre that the president, who contracted the virus last year and remains unvaccinated, has made about immunization against the coronavirus to date. He spent months sowing doubt about vaccines, especially the one produced by Chinese firm Sinovac. He also warned Brazilians that there would be no legal recourse against Pfizer for anyone suffering side effects, and joked that might include women growing beards or people transforming into alligators.