There are delays, logistics, but also privileges … Italy’s inability to target the most vulnerable people with its anti-Covid vaccination campaign has cost thousands of lives, estimated an expert from the ISPI institute on Friday, the day after Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s criticism of cheaters.
33,000 dead since January
After being one of the countries most affected by the pandemic last year, Italy launched its vaccination campaign but failed to focus exclusively on the groups most at risk, namely people elderly. If it had stuck more strictly to the “ideal” plan of vaccination of the elderly, Italy would have recorded 8,000 fewer deaths this year, according to expert Matteo Villa, researcher at the Institute for International Policy Studies ( ISPI) in Milan.
While 33,000 people have died since early January, with more targeted vaccination, “this figure could have been 25,000,” he said. “An unbalanced strategy, regional delays and vaccination cheats got us there,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
During a press conference Thursday evening, Mario Draghi warned officials of the twenty Italian regions that they had to improve the vaccination of their respective populations if they wanted the lifting of the restrictive measures in force, and attacked those who are vaccinated without being part of the priority groups.
“With what awareness are there people who skip the waiting list to try to get vaccinated first, knowing that this is how we expose people over 75 years of age or with a certain vulnerability and therefore to the real danger of dying? “, He launched. Government data shows Italy has administered a total of 12 million vaccines to date, including 4.2 million to people aged 80 and over and just 1.26 million to those in their 70s.
In addition, 3.1 million vaccines were administered to health personnel, one million to education personnel and 2.4 million to a fuzzy category defined as “other”.
The mark of the mafia?
This week, the head of the national anti-mafia commission expressed concern about the high rates of vaccination of this “other” group in the southern regions which have long struggled against the infiltration of the mafia into the health system and ‘other public domains. Nicola Morra ordered four regions – three southern regions (Sicily, Calabria and Campania), as well as Valle d’Aosta (north) – to provide data on vaccinations and explain how they set their priorities in the matter.
Mario Draghi took office in February promising to step up the vaccination campaign after more than a year of a pandemic that devastated the economy and left nearly 113,000 dead. But the campaign has been delayed, partly because of the shortage of supplies, and partly because regions have not prioritized the most vulnerable.
In Tuscany, avocados, including in their thirties, were vaccinated before most older people were vaccinated, while in Lombardy, the worst-affected region, a flawed reservation system wreaked havoc last month.