by Thomas Fazi
Tuesday, 11
January 2022
Dispatch
07:00

Italy’s vaccine mandate is purely political

Mario Draghi is trying to pin his Government's failures on unvaxxed Italians
by Thomas Fazi
Credit: Getty

Mario Draghi’s decision to introduce a Covid vaccine mandate for all citizens over 50 has understandably sparked an intense debate here in Italy. Most commentators, however, miss a crucial point: that vaccines are, de facto, already mandatory for most Italian citizens.

For months, everyone over the age of 12 has been required to hold a “Covid passport”, or “green pass” — proving that they’ve either been vaccinated against Covid-19, recently tested negative or have recovered from the disease within the past six months — to enter most public spaces, as well as all workplaces, public or private. This meant that anyone who couldn’t afford to get tested several times a week — in Italy Covid tests have a validity of 48 hours and can cost anything from 15 to 50 euros — had little choice but to get vaccinated.

However, these rules have now been tightened even further. As of yesterday, with the introduction of the so-called “super green pass”, a negative test will no longer be valid to access most public spaces. This means that anyone over the age of 12 will no longer be able use public transport, go the gym, dine (in or outside!) a restaurant or bar or enter a hotel or cinema unless they’re vaccinated or have recovered from Covid (and the latter is only valid for six months). In other words, millions of people will effectively be excluded from public life and reduced to a state of apartheid if they don’t get vaccinated. If this doesn’t amount to a regime of compulsory vaccination, I don’t know what does.

This measure is particularly shameful if we consider that it is also targeted at millions of minors, whom will be effectively subject to lockdown, with all that this entails for their already compromised physical and mental well-being, just because their parents have concluded that there’s little evidence of the benefits of vaccinating children. While one may not agree with such a decision, it’s not entirely unreasonable (as well as being in full compliance with the law). Indeed, based on the fact that that Covid has a minuscule mortality rate in minors (0,002%, to be precise), on the growing body of data on adverse reactions, and on the worrying spike in excess deaths among young people in several countries (including the UK), there’s good reason to believe that, below a certain age, the risks from the vaccine outweigh the benefits. Thus it is reasonable to think that there is an inflection point at which the harms of vaccination outweigh the benefits.

So what is the rationale for the official mandate? The government says that it is necessary to curb the surge in infections and the pressure on hospitals. The former argument, however, is clearly disproven by the obvious fact that there’s no correlation between vaccination rates and lower cases. Indeed, Italy has one of the highest number of daily new cases in the world despite also having one of the highest vaccination rates.

In the over-50s age group, in particular, Italy already registers incredibly high vaccination rates, close to or above 90%. It’s highly doubtful that vaccinating the remaining minority will make any difference to the spread of the virus. Especially if we consider that early studies show that the effectiveness of the current vaccines against infection with the Omicron variant is even lower than with previous variants. It’s just as doubtful that the small remaining minority of unvaccinated individuals can put the hospitals under pressure. The truth is that there’s hardly any Covid emergency to speak of in Italy at the moment, with Covid patients occupying only 17% of ICU beds.

So, as with all the pandemic measures enacted by the Draghi government, even the mandate (or the “super green pass”) would appear to have very little to do with public health. Rather, the motive is political: to further alienate the small minority of vaccine hesitant Italians (which will continue to be blamed for all the government’s failures), exacerbate social conflict and thus justify the maintenance of the permanent state of emergency necessary to continue with the de-democratisation, neoliberalisation and oligarchisation of the country. Welcome To Draghi’s Italy.

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Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
7 months ago

The way governments continue to shift the covid blame onto their citizens is terrifying. I just saw on television an angry Italian woman crying out that all non vaccinated people should be locked up. This is what our governments are achieving. It is chilling.
The blame game has been constant since the beginning of the pandemic. Here in Spain, after the first lockdown (when we weren’t allowed out even to exercise), the blame was first directed at joggers; neighbors in my block called them ‘imbeciles’; I was insulted several times I went out for a jog, and a female colleague of mine was told, by another woman, that she should be raped (her crime – jogging maskless). Then, it was agricultural workers; after that, young people and their partying; during the winter curfew days, it was illegal revellers; during the summer, again youngsters, demonized; now it is the unvaccinated.
The epidemic has no culprits. Only victims.

Last edited 7 months ago by Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
7 months ago

There seem to be some early signs of hope, though. The Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine just published a very important editorial calling for the end of exceptionality (link here). One of the things they stress when they discuss the blame narrative is:
Contracting or transmitting a respiratory virus is nobody’s fault. If cases go up, it is not because ‘we have relaxed’ or because ‘we are misbehaving’. The dynamics of an epidemic is much more complex […].

Last edited 7 months ago by Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
Thomas Fazi
Thomas Fazi
7 months ago

Do you have a link? Thanks!

Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
7 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Fazi
Lena Bloch
Lena Bloch
7 months ago

Oh I see the link. I will translate into English, Where can I reach you to send the translation?

Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
7 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Fazi

I think this op-ed is a very significant turning point.

Lena Bloch
Lena Bloch
7 months ago

where does it say that? Can you direct to the document itself? In Spanish? And another question, why is it officially an “opinion” (op-ed)? Is it not a scientific fact that the epidemics happen not because there are “spreaders” running around?

Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
7 months ago
Reply to  Lena Bloch

Hello Lena,
It’s an editorial published in Actualización en Medicina de Familia, which is the society’s journal. Maybe I should have said it’s a “position paper” instead of “op-ed”?
The sentence I quoted and translated is at the end of the section entitled “Comunicación para una sociedad adulta”. In the original it reads:
Contagiarse o contagiar un virus respiratorio no es culpa de nadie. Si los casos suben, no es porque «nos hayamos relajado» o porque «nos portemos mal». Como se ha visto, la dinámica de una epidemia es mucho más compleja y en ella influyen multitud de factores. 

Last edited 7 months ago by Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
7 months ago

Sometimes violent over through is the only solution

Andrea X
Andrea X
7 months ago

Welcome to Sturgeon’s Scotland or to Drakeford’s Wales or to Johnson’s England too. The rhetoric is not that different and we escaped similar vaccine passports by a whisker (I never understood whether they are being enforced in England), although the concept has now been introduced and the precedent set, so who knows what will happen with pi or sigma or tau.
It would be interesting to see an article on a country where Covid is NOT being used for political reasons.

(Check the ending of your third to last paragraph. Also, most of your links don’t seem to work.)

Last edited 7 months ago by Andrea X
Thomas Fazi
Thomas Fazi
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Thanks, will be fixed soon 🙂

Andrea X
Andrea X
7 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Fazi

Are you talking about Italy or Scotland? 😀

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrea X

He could almost be talking about NZ

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrea X

And welcome to Jacinda Ardern’s New Zealand. The unjabbed can still access retails stores and take public transport, but most other areas of society are being denied them either by actual legislation or by individual organisations making their own rules. With the governments blessing.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
7 months ago

This is becoming increasingly chilling.

Warren T
Warren T
7 months ago

I couldn’t agree more. The scary thing is regular people who think others are merely imbeciles because they don’t believe what they are told by something in the “media”.
Social media is destroying civil society rather quickly.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
7 months ago

Alienate… Exacerbate…Justify a permanent State of Emergency….AND… push forward with Digital ID / Social Credit Scoring control. Build Back Worse.
(Thanks Thomas for this article btw).

Last edited 7 months ago by Justin Clark
Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
7 months ago

What has happened to Italians? I always saw them as rule breakers.

Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
7 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

The same thing that happened to Spaniards. As one Spanish journalist said during the early days of the first lockdown, “I have just now understood the 40 years of Franco’s dictatorship”.

Lena Bloch
Lena Bloch
6 months ago