STORY: Brazilian police on Wednesday raided the home of the former president, Jair Bolsonaro, and seized his phone… as part of an investigation into his COVID-19 vaccination records.
The investigation may answer questions about how Bolsonaro, a strident coronavirus skeptic who vowed never to get a COVID vaccine, was registered as vaccinated in health records made public in February.
Bolsonaro confirmed the raid on his home to journalists Wednesday and reiterated that he has never taken a COVID vaccine. He also denied he had any role in allegedly forging documents.
"My (mobile phone) has been seized, my phone has no password, I will make that very clear. I have nothing to hide. Not only about the vaccination card, I have nothing to hide about anything. It would be good if we had a democratic country where we could discuss all subjects. There are subjects that are forbidden to talk about in Brazil and one of them is about the vaccine.”
Federal police in a statement said they were serving 16 search warrants and six preventive arrest warrants in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro as part of the operation but did not disclose the names of those targeted.
Police said they were investigating "false data" allegedly added to a national COVID-19 database between November 2021 and December 2022, when Bolsonaro was president.
"As a result, they were able to issue vaccine certificates and use them to circumvent restrictions imposed by public authorities in Brazil and the United States,"
The vaccine probe is one of many putting the former far-right leader under pressure, including investigations into alleged voter suppression, attacks on the legitimacy of Brazilian elections and embezzlement of foreign gifts.
Bolsonaro has denied any wrongdoing in those cases.