Italy is preparing to launch a massive vaccination campaign in January, according to Health Minister Roberto Speranza.
The Italian government has appointed a task force to plan how and where the first dose will be given when international regulators approve a successful vaccine.
Scientists estimate that 60-90 percent of the population will need to be vaccinated – perhaps annually – to achieve herd immunity to the coronavirus and stop future outbreaks.
The Health Minister stated that the vaccine will be free in Italy and appears to be voluntary. And although the vaccine is not mandatory, doubts are growing among Italians about its safety.
Of the 800 people who took the recent survey by the research institute “SWG”, nearly 40% said they would not take the risk.
Scientific research has broadened the choice of vaccine candidates, but even that has raised some doubts. The majority of people surveyed would rather have the Italian vaccine than the European or American vaccine.
According to the plan outlined by the government, health workers and medically vulnerable groups will be the first to receive it.
Italians may soon get a “vaccination passport” to keep track of their vaccination records, to be able to move domestically or travel abroad.
But experts are careful. Scientist Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, head of one of the first teams of virologists in Europe to isolate a viral DNA sequence, said it’s not just the vaccine that will make the difference.
“This vaccine is not the only product available, we hope we will offer treatment accordingly. But the main tool is the behavior that each of us follows. This proved to be a very effective measure to contain the spread of the virus. “
It is unlikely that the vaccine will relieve people from wearing face masks or respect social distancing in the short term. Experts warn that it is too early to say how long it will take to fully return to normal.
Italy, among European countries now struggling with the second wave of the pandemic, has recorded 1.3 million cases and a death toll of nearly 50,000 since the coronavirus struck earlier this year.
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