During a quick meeting in New York on Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson took jabs at unvaccinated Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, over the U,K.’s more-successful vaccination rollout. Let’s just say the meeting was kind of awkward.
Though meant to greet each other and discuss climate change ahead of the meeting of over 150 world leaders part of the United Nations, PM Boris Johnson awkwardly interrupted the conversation multiple times to tout the Astra-Zeneca vaccine.
Introducing Jair Bolsonaro to his staff, Johnson said that he, “promised to come to Brazil but then we had Covid,” name dropping the vaccine saying, “AstraZeneca, it’s a great vaccine. I have AstraZeneca!”
Bolsonaro, who previously had Covid-19, issued a lot of confusing statements at the time questioning the effectiveness of vaccines and claiming that the country was “not responsible for any side effects.”
He also alluded to homophobic remarks about those who get the vaccine, and claimed that since contracting Covid-19, he now has developed an “excellent” immunity to the virus.
“If you turn into a crocodile, that’s your problem,” Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said. “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] won’t have anything to do with it.”
“Some people say I’m giving a bad example,” he continued. “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?”
Over the last seven days, Brazil has had on average 34,286 new Covid-19 cases a day, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University. The country has seen roughly 21 million cases reported since the start of the pandemic, and over 591,000 deaths.
As they were leaving the meeting, Boris Johnson thanked everyone for putting it together, sneaking in a comment: “Get AstraZeneca. I’ve had it twice.”
Jair Bolsonaro was quick to respond before the British PM was able to leave the room, wagging his finger and declaring, “Not yet” through an interpreter.
In the U.K., over 87% of people over the age of 16 have had their first dose of the vaccine, while over 80% had gone on to get their second dose, according to the BBC.
After the meeting, Johnson’s office said that he had attempted to underline “the importance of vaccines as our best tool to fight the virus and save lives around the world.”
Taking time to jab the Brazilian President about his anti-vax stance, however, meant that the two did not discuss climate change during their meeting, as they had originally intended.
Recently, Bolsonaro was criticized internationally for scaling back protections for the Amazon Rainforest, promoting deforestation and the destruction of one of the planet’s greatest resources for oxygen production.
Boris Johnson had said that he was “increasingly frustrated” with the world’s “vast gap” between “promises and action” on climate justice on the flight to New York, according to the Daily Mail.
“I think it’s in the long-term interests of Brazil and the people of Brazil to recognize the spectacular natural inheritance, the endowment that they have, and to conserve that,” Boris Johnson remarked. “And I’m sure President Bolsonaro agrees with that.”
Addressing a roundtable of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly Monday morning, he declared that we were doing “nowhere near enough” to tackle climate change, and that “too many major economies… are lagging too far behind” in the push to reducing global carbon-dioxide emissions.
Brazlian President Jair Bolsonaro, who cannot eat indoors due to New York’s vaccination mandate, was spotted by The Daily Beast with a slice of pizza on the sidewalk. He is here to take part in the U.N. General Assembly, despite the fact that the convention has a vaccine mandate for all attendees.