Italian PM Emphasizes Covid-19 Vaccine Priorities for the Elderly

UMMATIMES - Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi appealed to all regional heads that the Covid-19 vaccine is currently prioritized for the elderly. He asked local governments and individuals not to violate the guidelines that have been made by the government.

"Stop vaccinating people under 60 years of age, stop vaccinating young people," Draghi told a press conference in a loud voice.

Italy launched a vaccination campaign in late December giving priority to the elderly. Under the Italian constitution, the 20 regions of the country have their own decisions regarding who is entitled to receive the vaccine first. Many areas prioritize vaccines for judges and journalists, while the elderly are sidelined.

"Someone jumps the queue, knowing that someone over 75 is at risk of dying," Draghi said. Draghi said prioritizing the elderly to get vaccines could reduce the death rate and allow Covid-19 restrictions to be reduced more quickly. Draghi said his administration will use the inoculation rate of the elderly as a benchmark for determining when social restrictions can be lifted.

Italy has the second highest death toll from the coronavirus in Europe and the seventh highest in the world. The country currently records around 400 deaths per day, despite strict restrictions on business and community movement in place for most of the year.

Like other major EU countries, Italy has had slow vaccine rollouts due to late delivery deadlines. However, Draghi is optimistic that the target of 500 thousand vaccinations per day can be achieved.

In recent weeks, Italy has vaccinated around 250,000 people per day. Draghi said Italy has sufficient vaccine stocks for all the elderly who are over 80 years of age.