Italy can’t meet EU’s over-80s vaccination target, think tank warns, as PM says regions are ‘neglecting’ elderly

An influential NGO has warned that it’s impossible for Italy to meet the EU’s goal of vaccinating all over-80s before the end of March, as the country’s prime minister complained that some regions are “neglecting their elderly.”

The Bologna-based GIMBE Foundation issued its dire assessment in a report released on Thursday that laid out how 19.1% of the 4.4 million over-80s in Italy have had both doses of their Covid vaccine and only 27.4% have had one dose.

Speaking to Italian news station Radio24, GIMBE’s president Nino Cartabellotta said “the percentage of those who have had twin shots puts Italy at the bottom of Europe.”

The figures, which will shine a brighter light on the EU’s problem-filled vaccine rollout, follows Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s statement that “some [regions] are neglecting their elderly” and choosing to give priority instead to those who have “some influence.” 

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Cartabellotta reiterated the PM’s complaints, blaming the failure to meet the over-80s target on regions that “have administered doses to groups not included in the [government’s] plan,” as professionals, such as lawyers, judges and even university professors, jump the queue. 

Italy began its Covid vaccination campaign in the closing days of 2020 but it has been beset by issues, including delayed shipments and the temporary suspension of the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over health concerns.

Since the start of the pandemic, Italy has recorded 3,419,616 confirmed cases of the virus, the seventh highest figure in the world, and 105,879 deaths, the second most fatalities in Europe.

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