Vaccines in Italy

Vaccinations, between mistakes and bureaucracy

The vaccination campaign has been a mess. In typical Italian style.

Vaccines in Italy
“Italy is born again with a flower.” The campaign of the Health Minister.

Indeed, the number of vaccines in Italy is not promising.

The numbers of vaccines in Italy

In theory, the Italian government has had a vaccination plan since December 2020. The Health Minister reports that, as of April 8th, 3.616.215 Italians have received both doses. This, compared to the total population of 60,36 million.

The plan designed three top-priority categories: healthcare workers, elderly in retirement homes, and people over 80. The latter category has received more doses . In fact, over 3.681.005 people between 80 and 89 have been vaccinated. Furthermore, five categories divide the population. Age aside, the government’s plan has identified: people at elevate risk (for example due to disability) and people below 60 with medical conditions (like diabetes). The fifth class is the latest one to receive the vaccine. Also known as “the rest of the population.”

Younger people have been left out. For example, only 693.127 people between 20 and 29 have received their dose. And only because of their category. They are either healthcare workers or military personnel. Or perhaps teachers. Everyone else has to wait.

The total doses of delivered vaccine are 15.568.73. And the campaign of vaccination started in January 2021.So, the numbers suggest a slow process.

The criticism and mistakes

To vaccinate the 70% of the Italian population (a safe percentage to reopen), the government has to administer 84.342.495. Since the daily numbers of doses is 225.474, the 70% will be reached in over 10 months. In theory, by February 2022, instead of August 2021 like the government predicted. Indeed, a slow process.

Vaccines in Italy

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera made an investigation in the country’s mistakes and system. Here are the key findings:

  • Despite the arrival of the vaccines in Italy, the death toll has risen.
  • The zone and color approach has revealed a disaster. Instead, lockdowns are more efficient. But the Italian government took a different path.
  • When it comes to the over 80, Italy is behind. By the end of March, Germany had vaccinated the 72% of this category. Italy stood at 57%.
  • To actually reopen in August, there should be at least 500,000 vaccinations. Daily.

Italy, why so slow?

The main reasons are two: slow deliveries and the AstraZeneca mess. Simply, there aren’t enough doses. Plus the AstraZeneca vaccine has side effects for older people. Hence, the government has decided that only people below 60 can get this specific vaccine. Furthermore, over 2.5 million doses are on standby. The regions already have them, but they can’t use them. Plus, the Johnson & Johnson serum isn’t available in Europe yet.

It seems like bureaucracy is getting in the way. In fact, even reserving the dose is complicated. Italians can call their medical district, but only to show interest. They join a list and then they are called with the appointments. Eventually. And the process is different for every region. For example, Sicilians can book through the postal service website, while in Liguria only people over 80 can reserve their spot. Still, the rules change almost daily.

Bureaucracy is getting in the way. Without any certainties, it looks like the vaccination campaign won’t pick up the pace. In fact, the only certainty seems to be that the Italian government is losing the fight against Covid-19.

Vaccines in Italy
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