Covid, “Europe is back at the epicentre of the pandemic”


The press conference of the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, the Commissioner for the Covid emergency, Francesco Figliuolo, and the CTS (Comitato Tecnico Scientifico – Technical Scientific Committee) Coordinator, Franco Locatelli, comes after the clear warning from the WHO: “Europe is back at the epicentre of the pandemic”, as it said the director Hans Kluge.

“The rates of growth are worrying, especially in the weaker bracket of the population. According to a reliable projection, if we stay on this trajectory, we could see another half a million COVID-19 deaths in Europe by the first of February next year. We are back at the epicentre of the pandemic” he added.

A “particularly worrying” situation of continuous escalation, that has affected not only Russia and the countries of Eastern Europe, but also Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Baltic States, Germany and many Dutch regions. EMA’s Head of Vaccines, Marco Cavalieri, have mentioned a “fourth wave”.

“We have a growing incidence – said Speranza – but it is lower compared to most of the other countries. However, the alarm must be considered with the utmost attention, and requires us to insist on the right path, in other words, the vaccination campaign”.
The vaccination campaign not only aimed at the unvaccinated, but also, at those who have already received the vaccine in the past months. Speranza highlighted that, the third dose is “strongly recommended for the over 60, who have completed the vaccination course for 6 months, as well as, for the vulnerable people, and finally, regardless of the age, for all those who have received a single dose of J&J. These are the indications at the moment, from next week we will work to expand the  campaign to the further generational ranges”.

To update the numbers of the vaccination campaign, Francesco Figliuolo said: ”to date, 83.3% of the population has completed the vaccination cycle, while the number of people who have some sort of a coverage is 87.7%.

According to Figliuolo, the daily peak of the third doses of the vaccine will be recorded “between December and February. For 2022, we have already consider an enough amount of doses, hence, we will be able to give the third dose to all those who have completed a vaccination cycle”. To underline the safety of the third inoculation, the coordinator of the CTS, Franco Locatelli said: “it is safe, in addition, I have received it without problems. We need to increase the vaccination rate for those who have not done it, and it is important to receive the third dose as a protection”.
The Government is monitoring the issue of the vaccination of children between 5 and 11 years, as well as, the use of Molnupiravir, the oral antiviral developed by Merck, already in use in Great Britain. In this regards, AIFA (Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco – Italian Medicines Agency) has already open a dialogue to acquire the doses of this drug “, in order to make also this therapeutic tool available”, stated Locatelli. Also, the coordinator of the CTS, with regard to the vaccination of children, citing the American Academy of Pediatrics and the SIP (Società Italiana di Pediatria – Italian Society of Pediatrics), stated that: “the 5-11 year study has shown its safety and efficacy”.
On the same issue, Speranza said that he was awaiting “a pronouncement from the EMA. The hope is that it will arrive by December”.