Coronavirus: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro bizarrely suggests vaccine could turn people into crocodiles or bearded ladies

Jair Bolsonaro.
Jair Bolsonaro. Photo credit: Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has bizarrely suggested the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine could result in people turning into crocodiles, women growing beards, and men speaking with effeminate voices.

The far-right leader, who has been skeptical of the virus since it started spreading, has downplayed it and labelled it as "a little flu".

"In the Pfizer contract, it's very clear: 'we're not responsible for any side effects'. If you turn into a crocodile, it's your problem," he said on Thursday.

"If you become superhuman, if a woman starts to grow a beard or if a man starts to speak with an effeminate voice, they [Pfizer] will not have anything to do with it."

Bolsonaro launched Brazil's vaccine campaign on Wednesday and said it would be free but not compulsory to receive. But the country's Supreme Court ruled the vaccine will be obligatory, although can't be forced on people, meaning authorities can fine people for not being vaccinated and ban them from certain public areas, but not make it compulsory to take.

Despite the vaccine rollout, Bolsonaro said he won't be vaccinated.

"Some people say I'm giving a bad example. But to the imbeciles, to the idiots that say this, I tell them I've already caught the virus, I have the antibodies, so why get vaccinated?" he told AFP.

Jair Bolsonaro.
Jair Bolsonaro. Photo credit: Getty Images

In July, the President tested positive for the virus and developed a fever. A month later he said he "knew I was going to catch it".

"I think unfortunately nearly everyone here is going to catch it eventually. What are you afraid of? Face up to it!" he said at the time.

Last week, he said Brazil was at the "tail end of the pandemic".

Brazil has seen its daily cases slowly rise again over the past two months. On Wednesday, the country set a record for new daily cases, reporting over 70,000 infections. The following day, it saw over 1000 deaths in 24 hours.

Brazil has the second-highest death toll in the world, surpassed by the United States. Over 186,000 Brazilians have died from the virus.