Italian PM Mario Draghi announced on Thursday, that Covid-19 vaccines could soon be mandatory for everyone of eligible age in Italy. It sparked protests from anti-vaxxers.
Mario Draghi, Italy’s prime minister, announced his government could make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory. During a press conference on Thursday, he said Italians of eligible age could soon be obliged to get the jab.
Division amongst government members
The news caused tensions within the ruling coalition. League leader, Matteo Salvini, said he will vote ‘‘no’’. He said his party will always be “against obligations, fines and discrimination.”
Currently, Italy only insists on mandatory vaccination for medical workers. The country was the first to introduce compulsory vaccinations for doctors.
The news sparked protests by anti-vaxxers. Recently, they have sent death threats to members of the government, virologists, health officials and journalists, because of their pro-vax stances.
Turin prosecutors launch investigation
On Tuesday, prosecutors in Turin launched an investigation into an antivax chat group on Telegram. There members posted death threats against foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio.
“Another rat to be executed,” “We need lead,” and “You must die,” were some of the messages.
The next day, during a sit-in outside the education ministry by anti-vaxxers, a protestor attacked a journalist from La Repubblica, punching him in the face.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has given conditional approval to four vaccines. This could be upgraded to so-called standard marketing authorisation after further checks, at which point, Draghi said, they could become compulsory for all.
According to media reports, EMA could reach a final decision by the end of next week.
Also in Turin, some teachers announced they had launched a lawsuit against a school principal. They head prevented them from entering classes without green passes.
Draghi denounces attacks
Draghi denounced all attacks, telling a news conference “such violence is particularly odious and cowardly when it is directed against those … in the front line of the fight against the pandemic”.
He also expressed “full solidarity to all those who have been subjected to the hateful and cowardly violence on the part of anti-vaxxers.”
The protests began after the government extended the Covid-19 green pass for use of trains, planes, ferries and coaches. In Italy, the green pass is also needed for long-distance travel and is mandatory for school workers.
A much publicised protest at train stations turned into a non-event with only a handful of anti-vaxxers turning out.