Rome: Italy launched its covid-19 vaccination programme Sunday, by vaccinating doctor Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, nurse Claudia Alivernini and social health worker Omar Altobelli at Rome’s Spallanzani hospital for infectious diseases, reports Italian news agency ANSA.
“Today Italy wakes up to #Vaccineday. This date will remain with us forever. Let’s start with health workers and the most fragile groups and then extend to the entire population the possibility of achieving immunity and defeating this virus definitively,” wrote Italy’s premier Giuseppe Conte on Twitter.
“It is a day we have been waiting for in time,” Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza said this morning: “The light is coming but we have to hold out for a few more months. It’s not over yet and we still need to respect the rules.”
“Today is a day of hope, but we still have months of a tough battle ahead of us,” said the leader of the Partito Democratico and president of the Lazio Region, Nicola Zingaretti.
The 9,750 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine delivered to all European countries today for Vaccine Day are a “symbolic” number, ANSA reports.
The actual distribution, according to the health ministry, will start from 28 December with about 470,000 doses set to arrive in Italy each week.
“The vaccine is free for all but not mandatory” – said Italy’s emergency coronavirus commissioner Domenico Arcuri at the Spallanzani today – “I think that the numbers of vaccinated people will be much higher than we think.”