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YouTube says it pulled Jair Bolsonaro videos for COVID-19 misinformation

YouTube said in a press release the decision was taken ”after careful review” and without consideration for Bolsonaro’s job or political ideology. The far-right former army captain, who has overseen the world’s second deadliest outbreak, has won widespread criticism for railing against lockdowns, touting unproven miracle cures, sowing vaccine doubts and shunning masks.

July 22, 2021 / 07:41 AM IST
The Brazil Health Ministry signed a contract for 20 million Covaxin doses in February.  (Image: Reuters)

The Brazil Health Ministry signed a contract for 20 million Covaxin doses in February. (Image: Reuters)

YouTube said on Wednesday it had removed videos from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s channel for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak, becoming the latest tech giant to pull his pandemic pronouncements.

YouTube said in a press release the decision was taken ”after careful review” and without consideration for Bolsonaro’s job or political ideology. The far-right former army captain, who has overseen the world’s second deadliest outbreak, has won widespread criticism for railing against lockdowns, touting unproven miracle cures, sowing vaccine doubts and shunning masks.

”Our rules do not allow content that states that hydroxychloroquine and/or ivermectin are effective in treating or preventing COVID-19, that states there is a cure for the disease, or says that masks do not work to prevent the spread of the virus,” it said in a statement.

The president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last year, both Twitter and Facebook took down videos of Bolsonaro for breaching their terms of use after he made pronouncements that went against the recommendations of global public health experts.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Bolsonaro’s YouTube channel plays host to his weekly national addresses, which are folksy, musical events in which he invites on ministers, takes questions from viewers and blasts his enemies.

During the chats, which also go out on his Facebook page, he regularly expounds on his doubts about the severity of the virus, the foolishness of stay-at-home measures and the wonders of unproven drugs like hydroxychloroquine.
Reuters
first published: Jul 22, 2021 07:41 am

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