Vaccine Skepticism Helped Put Them in Power. Can They Inoculate Italy? - The New York Times
Jan 12, 2021 2 mins, 34 secs

The Five Star’s long history of sowing doubt about vaccines may have made its job that much harder as it seeks to convince Italians that a mass inoculation program is necessary to beat back a pandemic that has killed nearly two million people worldwide and shuttered entire economies.

While 62 percent of Italians have said they would get an available vaccine, according to figures by Ipsos, a polling firm, in France only 40 percent said they would be.

Like other nations, it has looked for salvation in the vaccines already available to health care workers.

“I’m one of those who is really dubious,” said Frida Faggi, an orderly in a nursing home in northern Italy, adding she probably would not get the vaccine.

More than 730,000 people have been inoculated, or more than 1 percent of the population — a higher rate than Germany’s.

The scientific consensus, supported by many rigorous studies, is that vaccines are not a cause of autism, and are safe and recommended in most cases.

Once countries authorize a vaccine, they’ll only be able to vaccinate a few percent of their citizens at most in the first couple months.

Scientists don’t yet know if the vaccines also block the transmission of the coronavirus.

So for the time being, even vaccinated people will need to wear masks, avoid indoor crowds, and so on.

Once enough people get vaccinated, it will become very difficult for the coronavirus to find vulnerable people to infect.

The two vaccines that will potentially get authorized this month clearly protect people from getting sick with Covid-19.

But the clinical trials that delivered these results were not designed to determine whether vaccinated people could still spread the coronavirus without developing symptoms.

We know that people who are naturally infected by the coronavirus can spread it while they’re not experiencing any cough or other symptoms.

In the meantime, even vaccinated people will need to think of themselves as possible spreaders.

The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is delivered as a shot in the arm, like other typical vaccines.

Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines, and none of them have reported any serious health problems.

Its members campaigned against laws making vaccines obligatory and professed a link between vaccines and cancer and allergies, as well as autism.

Rimini, a city on Italy’s east coast, is a hotbed of vaccine skepticism where judges have linked vaccines to autism and workers in nursing homes have refused to be vaccinated.

Maurizio Grossi, the president of a doctors’ association in Rimini, warned that 30 percent of nursing home workers were initially unwilling to get vaccinated.

Italy’s virus-obsessed newspapers and television channels often fill space with minority and unproven scientific opinions, casting doubt on vaccine efficacy or suggesting that a shot might cause illness.

Sandra Zampa, the deputy health minister, with the Democratic Party that is now Five Star’s coalition partner, said it was “evident” that health care workers should be vaccinated as “a precondition” of their continued employment

Forcing people to get inoculated, she said on Italian television, was “absurd.”

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