Lula government to lift secrecy on Bolsonaro vaccination records

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Brazil’s Federal Comptroller General’s Office on Monday ruled to release Jair Bolsonaro’s Covid vaccination status — which had been kept confidential by the previous administration.

In January 2021, the government slapped a 100-year secrecy seal on the then-president’s immunization records, claiming the information contained sensitive private data belonging to Mr. Bolsonaro. The comptroller’s office says the information is of public interest due to its “influence on the Brazilian state’s immunization policies.”

Almost a month ago, Comptroller General Vinícius de Carvalho told CNN Brasil that his office has records indicating that former President Jair Bolsonaro received a dose of the Janssen coronavirus vaccine on July 19, 2021. 

However, the Federal Comptroller General’s Office is investigating whether the record is authentic or if it has been tampered with. Mr. Carvalho informed the cable news station that an investigation into the authenticity of the vaccination record was opened on December 30.

Mr. Bolsonaro has repeatedly spread misinformation around Covid vaccines. He said they were “experimental,” even after they were approved by health agencies such as Anvisa, Brazil’s federal healthcare regulator. The far-right leader has also made false claims that vaccines were linked to the development of AIDS. 

For the latter comment, he and one aide were put under investigation by the Federal Police and found to have committed a crime by inciting people not to vaccinate or wear masks based on false information.

Sealing his vaccination records was just one of many moves by Mr. Bolsonaro to reduce public transparency and accountability. Under his leadership, the government’s acceptance rate of requests for information via the Access to Information Act hit at an all-time low of 58 percent in 2020 and rose only slightly to 68 percent in 2021.

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