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All the errors in vaccinations in Italy. Wsj report

All the errors in vaccinations in Italy. Wsj report

How has the vaccination campaign in Italy gone so far. The deepening of the Wall Street Journal

Thousands of people have died every week from Covid-19 in Italy, one of the highest per capita death numbers and rates in the West.

One factor, according to the Italian government itself: for many weeks, Italy has been slow in vaccinating the elderly. While national authorities have prioritized older people and those in nursing homes along with front-line health workers, regional authorities have given several vaccines to younger workers.

This contrasts with the UK, where vaccinating older age groups earlier has contributed to a steep drop in Covid-19 deaths.

In the last two weeks of March, Italy reported 102 deaths from Covid-19 for every million inhabitants, compared to 47 in Spain, 28 in Germany and 11 in the United Kingdom. At the end of March, people aged 70 or over accounted for 86% of the 107,000 confirmed deaths from Covid-19 in Italy – writes the WSJ.

"If we had vaccinated people over the age of 70 or 75 from the beginning, we would have avoided many deaths," said Antonella Viola, a virologist at the University of Padua.

The national government changed its vaccination guidelines in March, postponing eligibility for essential workers to focus on the elderly. But many regions have been slow to adapt. Prime Minister Mario Draghi criticized the regions for "neglecting the elderly" in favor of professional groups, which he believes have bargaining power. Regions have reacted on the defensive, blaming central government guidelines and shortages of vaccine doses.

On Friday, the Draghi government ordered regions to vaccinate strictly by age group, starting with the oldest Italians.

Vaccinations in Italy have so far prevented the deaths of more than 4,000 people, according to a study by Matteo Villa, an analyst at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies, a Milan-based think tank. But Italy could have prevented another 6,000 deaths if it had made vaccination of people aged 70 and over a priority, Villa estimates.

Deaths related to Covid-19 could decrease by 70% from early January levels once Italy vaccinates 90% of its 70 -year-olds , assuming the virus continues to circulate at its current level, Villa said.

Initial government guidelines for regional authorities, which are implementing the vaccination plan, say priority should go to frontline health workers, nursing home residents and staff, and people over 80. The guidelines also said workers in essential services should receive an early vaccine, without clearly specifying these services. The government has not specified which high priority groups should be vaccinated first.

The 20 Italian regions all started early with vaccinations for health workers, but many did not start in parallel with those over 80. By mid-February, Italy had vaccinated only 4% of over 80s, compared to an EU average of 19%.

Italy is catching up with other EU countries in vaccinating over 80s, but is still behind in giving vaccines to over 70s. Only 17% of Italian residents between 70 and 79 have received one or more doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, the lowest level in the EU apart from Bulgaria.

Some Italian regions have freely interpreted the health category. Medical researchers, doctoral students in medical schools and administrators working in the health sector have had their vaccinations before many in their 80s, despite rarely having contact with patients.

In the category of essential workers, some regions have started vaccinating teachers, lawyers, magistrates, law enforcement officials and, in one region, journalists. Some park rangers, included in the category of law enforcement, have vaccinated in advance.

Prosecutors in some parts of Italy have opened investigations into possible abuses of the vaccine priority list.

Teresa Angela Camelio, a prosecutor from Biella in northern Italy, is investigating whether local health authorities did not check that people were entitled to be vaccinated, and whether some professionals, such as accountants or lawyers, used their links to the care to get vaccinations. He has questioned 120 people so far and put 23 of them under formal investigation, he said.
Camelio said there have been cases where individuals or professional groups have jumped the line by taking advantage of the loosening of the initial rules, but have not committed any crimes. Others, however, may have broken the law, he said.

She and her husband, a lawyer, could have received the vaccines early because their region, Tuscany, gave high priority to legal and judicial professionals, but they didn't. “We will wait our turn,” he said, based on the age group.

Italy's belated push to vaccinate people over 80, coupled with the priority given to various professions, has left people 70 years behind. A greater share of Italians between the ages of 50 and 69 have been vaccinated, although they are less likely to die from Covid-19.

The Lazio region, which includes Rome, has focused on vaccinating older age groups rather than professional groups. The impact is beginning to show itself: Lazio recorded 766 deaths related to Covid-19 in March, compared to 889 in February and 1,230 in January, the month in which vaccinations began.

Article taken from the foreign press review of Eprcomunicazione

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Sat, 17 Apr 2021 05:21:39 +0000.