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Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

November 30, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stated firmly last week that he would not take a COVID-19 vaccine his country may approve and he was “sure” that Congress would not make such a vaccine mandatory.

“I'm telling you, I won't take it (the vaccine),” he said Nov. 26 during a “subjects of the week” press conference. “It is my right.”

“And I am sure that Congress will not create difficulties for whoever doesn't want to take a vaccine,” he added.

“Forcing people to take the vaccine or say that who doesn’t take it cannot get a passport, have a public job, that’s dictatorship,” the Brazilian president went on to say. “Whoever defends that is a dictator, or a false dictator that is willing to do business with the lives of others.”

Bolsonaro also criticized the use of masks to combat the spread of the virus, referring to them as a “taboo” that needs “to fall.”

His words on the ineffectiveness of masks echo those of a growing body of doctors (here and here) — backed by recent peer-reviewed research — who make the case that masks are “utterly useless” at stopping the transmission of the virus.

The 65-year-old Brazilian president tested posted for COVID-19 in July. He recovered in early August after spending three weeks in quarantine at the presidential palace.

“I knew I was going to catch it someday, as 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.

“I regret the deaths. But people die every day, from lots of things. That's life.”

The country has recorded more than 6.3 million cases of COVID-19 with 5.5 million recoveries, according to Worldometers. 172,848 deaths have been attributed to the virus, according to the same source. According to those statistics, Brazil currently trails India and the United States for number of deaths attributed to COVID-19, making it the third worst hit nation for deaths.