ROMA We must move in unison with the other European countries, was the reasoning with which Mario Draghi gave the green light to AstraZeneca’s precautionary stop. A painful decision, which disconcerts citizens and health workers, but almost obliged by the rapid sequence in which Germany and France, after the Netherlands and shortly before Spain, stopped the administrations pending the verdict of the EMA: that European Agency of medicines that he received slaps from the founding countries in the same hours in which, in the European Parliament, he offered guarantees on the safety of AstraZeneca.
Between Palazzo Chigi and the Ministry of Health high concern, there is the fear that the vaccination campaign will suffer a setback and that the Italians will lose faith in the antidote. The vaccine is the only key we have to get out of the pandemic, the thought that torments Roberto Speranza, positively and negatively. Only two days ago, strengthened by the assurances of AIFA, the Minister of Health declared a Republic that vaccines in Italy and in Europe are all effective and safe. Even AstraZeneca therefore, on which he was the first to place strong expectations.
But yesterday afternoon, while Salvini thundered against another failure of Europe, Speranza himself had to call Draghi to inform him that the wave of European caution on the Oxford patent was about to hit us too. The head of Health spoke with his German counterpart Jens Spahn, alarmed by the cases of adverse reactions in Germany, spoke with the ministers of France and Spain and then made the point with the head of the Italian government: If half of Europe for prudential reasons suspend AstraZeneca, difficult for us to go on …. Draghi, who only a few days ago undertook to give new vigor to the vaccination campaign, asked the minister to arrive at a coordinated and shared choice at the European level. We must move in unison and suspend together, was the premier’s recommendation, which is clear about the numbers of AstraZeneca in Europe (400 million doses) and the earthquake that a real slowdown in the serum on which Italy has focused more could trigger on our vaccination campaign.
For Draghi three or four days off does not make the difference, what matters is that the agencies clarify as soon as possible and that we can leave in complete safety. There is confidence in a favorable response, as well as the determination not to feed fear, making it clear with the help of the media that the suspension is only precautionary and temporary and that a clarification will facilitate the restart.
We must be careful not to generate the idea that Italy wants to reconsider the attitude towards AstraZeneca – the reflection that bounces between Palazzo Chigi and the Ministry of Health. There is currently no clear statistical correlation between Anglo-Swedish serum and cases of adverse reactions. There is therefore no alarmism, also because the increase in the doses of other companies, such as Pfizer, will bring about a compensation.
The Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health are studying a drum-beating communication campaign to reconcile citizens with vaccines. A spot to just raise AstraZeneca unthinkable for reasons competition and the market, but a message about the importance of moving forward with the immunization campaign will come soon. Whatever Ema’s final decision – Draghi had guaranteed on Saturday at the Fiumicino hub – the vaccination campaign will continue with renewed intensity. And the prime minister certainly wants to keep his word.
March 15, 2021 (change March 15, 2021 | 22:52)