Italy, with the amount of Covid vaccines it has purchased, could revaccinate the entire population twice more. Here is what happens to the excess doses and how much we have spent
The anti Covid vaccines are back to discuss in Italy (and beyond). On Monday 20 June, the Report broadcast on Rai 3 revealed how many doses our country has bought so far.
According to the investigation too many. And this means that, in addition to wasting money, many will be lost due to their expiration. So what to do with the many vaccines in the fridge and why do you keep getting doses that you can't administer?
INSIDE THE SEA PRACTICE HUB
The Report service sheds light on the Pratica di Mare hub, on the outskirts of Rome, where the anti Covid vaccines are stored and then shipped, in special refrigerated boxes, to the Regions as needed.
Here, in the fridges with temperatures reaching -80 °, there are stocks of Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax. As reported by Daniele Porelli of the Italian Air Force, the warehouse is currently 50% full, which in other words means about 15 million doses.
At the height of the emergency, Porelli explained, there were daily shipments, while now more or less one shipment is made every two weeks but, despite the excess of doses, deliveries by pharmaceutical companies do not stop and arrivals they happen more or less once a week.
When asked why deliveries do not stop, Vincenzo Smaldore of Openpolis replied: "You are not required to monitor the outcome or the progress of that contract."
HOW MANY VACCINES ITALY HAS PURCHASED
Report , by accessing the documents, was able to find out the exact number of doses purchased from Italy. According to a document signed by General Tommaso Petroni, successor of the former commissioner Francesco Figliuolo, for the year 2022 alone, our country bought almost 138 million doses, which add up to over 183 million in 2021.
An enormous figure, underlines Report , enough to revaccinate the entire population twice more. It is a pity, however, that the vaccination campaign has been stalled for some time now. With 83% of the population having already received the third dose and the fourth which is currently reserved for the more fragile categories.
"Considering the trend of the spread of the virus, now we will probably arrive in September-October that most of the population is infected and cured and therefore I do not think we will face a mass vaccination with the fourth dose", said Andrea Crisanti , professor of microbiology at the University of Padua.
Among other things, it is not irrelevant that due to virus mutations and sub-variants such as Omicron 5, updated vaccines will probably be administered if there is a vaccination campaign.
INSIDE THE REFRIGERATORS OF THE REGIONS
But millions of doses do not remain for months only in the refrigerators of Pratica di Mare. In fact, Report also went to some regional hubs. In one of the deposits of the Lazio Region, for example, there are more or less 10 thousand doses of the Novavax vaccine, Nuvaxovid , recommended for those who have yet to receive the first and second dose but, as pointed out by the director of the local pharmacy Asl Roma 1 , Silvia Caldarini, arrived when 93% of the population had already completed the primary cycle.
At the moment about ten are administered daily and, the investigation underlines, at this rate three years will not be enough to empty the fridge, but in the meantime the expiration date is approaching.
THE RECLASSIFICATION OF DEADLINES
To solve the problem of the deadline, Caldarini explained, there was a reclassification. In the case of Nuvaxovid, with the approval of the regulatory bodies, the duration was extended by 2 months, while that of Pfizer was increased from 6 to 9 months. However, even this may not be enough to avoid waste.
HOW THE EXCESS DOSES ARE DISPOSED OF
In March, reveals Report , the then extraordinary commissioner Figliuolo, in a letter to the Regions, explained that a large part of the excess doses would be sent to support countries in difficulty.
States, among other things, observes the investigation, are not free to donate vaccines without first asking for permission from pharmaceutical companies, which further lengthens the time.
But, as Sara Albiani, Oxfam Italy health manager clarified, it is a make-up operation because we are donating vaccines with very short deadlines, so much so that, according to Unicef data, in December 2021 alone, about 100 million doses donated are not been administered for this reason.
Last year, for example, Italy sent one and a half million vaccines to Tunisia, but an investigation by the journalistic project Follow the doses cited by Report revealed that they would expire after just two months. A story that has also been repeated in Nigeria, where the local government has had to throw more than a million doses in landfills because they are unusable.
HOW MUCH MONEY DID ITALY SPENT
Despite the lack of transparency on the price of vaccine doses due to the secrecy of the contracts between the EU and Big Pharma, astudy by the Italian Public Accounts Observatory of the Catholic University, chaired by Carlo Cottarelli, has put together the available information and it emerges that:
"For purchases made by the European Union, the prices per dose of Pfizer vaccine were on average equal to 15.5 euros (18.9 dollars) in the first phase of the purchases, and then increased to 19.5 euros (23.15 dollars) for subsequent supplies. The doses of Moderna would instead have seen an increase from 19.9 euros (22.5 dollars) for the first supplies to 22 euros (25.5 dollars) for the following ones. The price of a single dose of AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines would have remained unchanged and equal respectively to 2.9 euros (3.5 dollars) and 8.5 euros (10 dollars) ".
Considering that Italy, according to the document viewed by Report , bought 73.1 million Pfizer doses and 34.6 million Moderna in 2022 alone, paid Pfizer up to 1.42 billion euros and Moderna up to 762 , 4 million euros.
COUNTRIES OPPOSING CONTRACTS WITH BIG PHARMA
However, there are those who have no intention of continuing to pay for vaccines that are no longer needed and may not even be needed in the future. In fact, Italy is not alone in this “over dose” situation, as the Report defined it. A frond of European countries, led by Poland, intends to do battle with pharmaceutical companies with the aim of modifying billionaire contracts.
According to the words of the Polish Minister of Health, Adam Niedzielski, among the states that have joined forces, there are at least ten countries, including Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, Hungary. Italy, for now, has not responded to the appeal.
This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/sanita/tutti-gli-sprechi-italia-sui-vaccini-anti-covid-inchiesta-di-report/ on Wed, 22 Jun 2022 06:58:56 +0000.