Italian politicians should support the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Monday, mainly arguing over right-wing leaders who have yet to be vaccinated.
A recent spike in infections, fueled by the more contagious Delta variant, has brought a renewed sense of urgency to the vaccination program, with the government fearing that nearly 40% of the adult population has still not received a vaccine. Among those who have not yet been vaccinated is Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s largest party, the Right-Wing League. Other figures, such as Giorgia Meloni, who heads the far-right Brothers in Italy, have declined to say whether they have been vaccinated.
Their failure to support the health campaign has led to accusations that they are bowing to Italy’s loud no-vaccination movement. “No political force can be ambiguous on vaccines. The recovery and the future of the country depend on the vaccination campaign,” the Minister of Health said in a statement.
Salvini, who publishes much of his life on social media, said vaccinations were a private concern and repeatedly told reporters that he was simply waiting his turn – despite the fact that people his age were eligible for vaccines in May. Opponents accused him of harming public health.
“In reality, it itches the stomachs of skeptical and vax-free groups. If there had been someone like him in the 1960s, we would never have beaten polio,” said Tatjana Rojc, Senator of the Democratic Party. center-left. The problem has come to the fore as the government is expected to announce later this week that only fully vaccinated people can visit nightclubs, gyms and indoor restaurants. It also plans to limit access to trains and domestic flights.
France has already introduced similar measures, but Salvini, whose party is part of the ruling coalition, said access to restaurants, cafes and transport should not be restricted. Meloni, who is in opposition, denounced the plan, saying it would ruin an already fragile tourism sector. Italy recorded 2,072 cases on Monday, up from 888 a week ago and an increase of 268% on a four-week average. By comparison, only three deaths were recorded on Sunday and seven on Monday – the lowest levels since last August.
Data shows that vaccinations offer almost 100% protection against death from the coronavirus.
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)