The Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, has spoken to the Parliament on December 2, to explain the epidemiological framework, the measures planned for the new ministerial decree-DPCM, which will be in force from December 4, and to present the guidelines of Italy’s Strategic Plan for anti-SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 vaccination, drafted by the Ministry of Health, the Extraordinary Commissioner for the COVID-19 Emergency, the Higher Institute of Health, the Italian National Agency for Regional Healthcare Services (AGENAS) and the Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa).
Upon conclusion of the communications of the Italian Minister of Health, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies approved the relevant resolutions.
Starting from the analysis of the epidemiological framework, the Minister pointed out that “the set of measures adopted over the last few weeks are starting to give the first encouraging results”, stressing, however, that “the situation is very serious throughout the country, and we can absolutely not underestimate it. The circulation of the virus is still high, so we must be careful not to relax too early and think that we are out of danger. If we let our guard down, the third pandemic wave is just around the corner“. For the minister, therefore, “the coming festivities must be taken extremely seriously if we do not want new heavier lockdowns between January and February”.
Before explaining in detail, the pillars of the vaccination plan, Speranza stressed that “the full success of the vaccination campaign must be a fundamental objective for the whole country. There is no political majority and opposition here, however the Italians and their fundamental right to health is a basic pre-requirement for a solid economic and social recovery”. He then presented in detail the fundamental lines of the Plan, centred around 8 axes.
The first axis is related to the centralization and gratuity of the vaccine. “The vaccine is a common good, a right that must be guaranteed to everyone, regardless of income and the territory in which everyone works,” said Speranza.
With regard to the second axis concerning doses and administration of vaccines, the Minister stated that “if all authorisation processes are successful, the doses will be distributed to Member States in proportion to their populations, from Q1 2021 and with a more significant distribution of doses in Q2 and Q3, to be completed substantially in Q4. Italy will be able to count on the availability of the following doses under the agreements concluded:
- AstraZeneca 40.38 million
- Johnson & Johnson 53.84 million
- Sanofi 40.38 million
- Pfizer/BNT 26.92 million
- CureVac 30.285 million
- Modern 10.768
Illustrating the third axis relating to the timing of authorization of vaccines, Speranza said that “the race against the clock that the scientific community is making walks hand in hand with maximum safety and full compliance with all protocols of guarantee and control.
The fourth axis identifies the categories to be vaccinated with priority: health and social/medical workers, residents and staff working in homes for elderly people. “Of course, with the increase in doses of vaccine – specified the Minister – the other categories of population will be vaccinated”.
The fifth axis is related to logistics, procurement, storage, and transport, which will be the responsibility of the Extraordinary Commissioner.
The sixth axis concerns the governance of the vaccination plan, which will be ensured through a constant coordination between the Ministry of Health, the Extraordinary Commissioner, the Regions and Autonomous Provinces.
The seventh axis concerns a modern information system to manage the vaccination campaign in an effective, integrated, safe and transparent way.
And, finally, the eighth axis will provide for an effective drug surveillance and immunological surveillance, to ensure the highest level of safety throughout the vaccination campaign.
“We must all work together to ensure a total success of the vaccination campaign, to defeat this terrible virus once and for all, to create the right health conditions and restart Italy. We are a great country. We must never forget that. Let’s prove once again that we are up to the most difficult challenges”, concluded Minister Speranza.
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