Who is the former volleyball player who campaigns on Twitter

This week, former volleyball player Ana Paula Henkel celebrated the decision of Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga to suspend vaccination against coronavirus in adolescents.

A far-right activist, she has spent the last few days campaigning against the immunization of the 12 to 17 year olds.

The former athlete’s positions on the matter were echoed by the son of president Jair Bolsonaro (no party), federal deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro (PSL-SP), and influenced Queiroga’s decision. According to the minister, the measure had “contribution” from the head of the Executive.

“What to do with governors who did not even respect the PNI? Because the vaccination for children and adolescents would start yesterday. These governors are responsible for adverse effects these children may have. They started an immunization plan without the approval of Anvisa, which only released Pfizer’s vaccine for children and adolescents. These governors started the plan well ahead of time and with other vaccines. Now whose responsibility will it be?”, he asked.

On Wednesday (15), the Ministry of Health released an information note restricting the application of doses only to young people with comorbidities, permanent disabilities or who are deprived of liberty.

In response, the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass) and the National Council of Municipal Health Secretaries (Conasems) issued a position stating that there was no dialogue on the topic and warned that the Technical Chamber of the National Immunization Plan did not even was informed about the change.

On your Twitter account and as a commentator for the Pingos Nos Is show, from Pan Youth Radio, Ana Paula has been notable for spreading false news about the new coronavirus pandemic. Claims made by the former athlete were repeatedly contradicted by information-checking agencies.

On the social network, she has more than 900,000 followers. Despite being a source of “fake news”, his account is verified by Twitter, where he displays a “blue seal” to confirm his identity. With the seal, as the Brazil in fact in an article on the subject, it has greater potential for viralization.

A resident of the United States, Ana Paula came to compete in four Olympics. Her best result was a bronze medal in 1996, after a historic loss to the Cuban women’s volleyball team in the semi-finals. In the others (1992, 2000 and 2004), he did not win medals. In the last two, he competed in the beach volleyball category.

After retiring from sports, she says she graduated in Architecture from the University of California at Los Angeles, the same institution where she claims to have started a Masters in Political Science, in 2018. Brazil in fact tried to confirm the information with the institution, but did not get a return until the publication of this report.

In the 2014 elections, Ana Paula recorded a video in support of the then PSDB candidate, the current federal deputy Aécio Neves (PSDB-MG). In the years that followed, however, it veered to the far right.

Ana Paula in support video for the then PSDB candidate, Aécio Neves / Reproduction/PSDB

She has even published photos with the flag of Gadsden, illustrated with a rattlesnake. Considered one of the first among Americans, it is now a symbol of white supremacy and ultra-conservatism.

Ana Paula has also been notable for racist and homophobic comments. For its extremist statements, it has been criticized by other former athletes, such as former volleyball players Isabel and Ana Moser, and former football player Walter Casgrande Jr.

Edition: Anelize Moreira

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