“I spent sleepless nights thinking about this decision and I concluded that it was right for me to resign,” Nicolo Nicolosi, 78, told the ANSA news agency.
Nicolosi, mayor of Corleone, a small town near Palermo, said he quit “even if I insisted that I made the right choice of getting the vaccine for myself and the city councilors.”
On Saturday, press reports said police were investigating the mayor and other members of the city government, and had reported the case to local prosecutors.
The town of Corleone – or best known for inspiring the name of the Mafia boss from the “The Godfather” franchise – confirmed on its Facebook page that Nicolosi got two doses of the vaccine in January.
Italy started a vaccination campaign at the end of December, with the first dose reserved for health workers and people over 80 years. As in other countries in Europe, supply shortages have caused delays.
Nicolosi argues that local politicians like him also need immediate protection against the virus, as frontline workers serving their local communities.
Vaccinating him was “a conscious choice made to prevent the possibility that contact with the virus might have forced him to leave his post in the trenches,” the town of Corleone said on Facebook.
Nicola Morra, a senator from the ruling Five Star Movement and head of the upper chamber anti-mafia committee, said Nicolosi was not the only local politician to abuse the system.
“Unfortunately we hear of some situations where the rule of law is being trampled on,” Morra wrote on Facebook, urging other queue jumpers to follow the example of resignation.
Italy has so far injected 5.3 million doses of vaccine and fully vaccinated 1.6 million people, out of a population of 60 million, health ministry data showed Sunday.
New Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who was sworn in last month, has prioritized accelerating vaccine distribution to tackle a pandemic that has killed nearly 100,000 people across the country.
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