Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Monday Italian politicians should throw their weight behind the Covid-19 vaccination campaign. Currently, many right leaning politicians have yet to be inoculated.
A recent rise in infections, fuelled by the more contagious Delta variant, gives a renewed sense of urgency to the vaccination programme. The government is concerned almost 40% of the adult population has not received a shot.
Politicians pandering to anti-vax movement?
Matteo Salvini, head of Italy’s largest party, the rightist League has not received his shots. Other prominent figures, such as Giorgia Meloni, who leads the far-right Brothers of Italy, refuse to say whether they have or not.
Accusations are now flying that these politicians are pandering to Italy’s strong anti-vax movement.
“No political force can be ambiguous about vaccines. The relaunch and the future of the country depend on the vaccination campaign,” the health minister said in a statement.
Tummy tickles for the sceptical
Salvini, who posts about his life on social media, has said vaccinations are a private concern. He has repeatedly told reporters he is simply waiting for his turn. This despite the fact people of his age were eligible for shots in May.
Salvini’s opponents accuse him of undermining public health. “In reality, this is belly scratching for the sceptical and no-vax groups. If there had been someone like him in the 1960s, we would never have defeated polio,” said Tatjana Rojc, a senator with the centre-left Democratic Party.
Only fully vaccinated will be able to access certain places
The issue has once again come to the public’s attention as the government may announce only fully vaccinated people can go to nightclubs, gyms and indoor restaurants. Read more, here.
Salvini, whose party is in the ruling coalition, said access to restaurants, cafes and transport must not be restricted. Meloni, who is in opposition, has denounced the plan, saying it would wreck an already fragile tourist sector.
Cases rise but death rates down
Italy registered 2,072 cases on Monday. This is an increase of 1,184 from a week ago and an increase of 268% over a four-week average. By comparison, the registration of just three deaths on Sunday and seven on Monday is the lowest since last August.
Data shows vaccinations offer almost 100% protection against death from the coronavirus.