An Update to Last Week’s Post (below).
Yes, a lot can happen in a week, particularly the Covid fallout from unrestrained celebrations of Italy’s big Euro soccer win. Covid cases, particularly the Delta variant, is on the rise, making the race to get more people fully vaccinated even more important. Rumors of Italy doing selective reinstatements of regional restriction in mid-August were throughout the media. Today, we heard that Italy is sticking with the current plans until the end of August, the biggest month for Italian to vacation.
Meanwhile, I just got my second AstraZeneca jab this evening. Now, to give it three solid weeks to build up to maximum effectiveness. And even then, I will maintain vigilance with masks and social distancing in indoor spaces.
But a handful of regions are now on the watchlist.
Yes, Italy remains open but Sicily, Campania, Marche, and Abruzzo are risking being moved back into “yellow” restrictions. This probably would mean curfews, dining restrictions (outdoor only), and limited movements within the region and between others.
“Italy’s rising infection rate fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant could see some regions reintroduce measures in the coming weeks, if the health data continues on its current trajectory.”
—The Local, July 13, 2021
I encourage those of you wanting to read the full article at thelocal.it (and to follow subsequent articles) to stay grounded in facts and trends. Yes, this change in what was a consistently improving trend is cause for concern, but it hasn’t turned dire. And this uptick was expected.
‘Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza told journalists on Monday that an increase in cases had been expected, saying: ‘As is known, we monitor all the data weekly, we expected a rise, this rise is underway but with lower numbers than in the past.’”
—The Local, July 13, 2021
An uptick in relation to Covid vaccinations?
This isn’t a news flash. According to ISS (Istituto Superiore di Sanità):
“New cases are mainly among those who are unvaccinated or have only had their first dose…”
38.2% of Italy’s population is fully vaccinated. Almost 60% have received their first dose. Overall vaccinations being administered daily are around half a million. (Source Google News)
At these rates, another 20+ million people will receive vaccinations by the end of August, hopefully getting the country past the halfway point of those people fully vaccinated. For us to say that Italy remains open this, at a minimum, will be essential. I’d be better comforted if we were further along, especially as new variants begin to dominate the new cases.
Italy is following Germany’s lead with vaccination mixing.
Currently, for those in Italy under sixty who’ve received the AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose, they’re being given Pfizer or Moderna as the second dose. If the AZ is available (not the case in all regions), and if they give consent, they can have AZ as the second dose.
Meanwhile, Germany seems to be racing along with the strategy of mixing vaccines.
“The German Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) said Thursday that people who receive a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine ‘should get an mRNA vaccine as their second dose, regardless of their age.’”
“STIKO said that “current study results” show that the immune response generated after a mixed dose vaccination ‘is clearly superior.’”
—CNN Health By Niamh Kennedy, Fred Pleitgen and Jamie Gumbrecht, July 2, 2021
The above-cited article (read it here) goes on the explain that Canada has been reaching the same conclusion and employing a similar strategy.
Yours truly is hoping to do some vaccine mixing.
I’m scheduled for my second AZ vaccine next week, but because I’m not in the under sixty group, I’m not automatically given Pfizer or Moderna. I’m hoping my request to mix will be honored. Germans aren’t slackers with their studies or strategies, so I’ll willingly following their lead.
To say that Italy remains open, and the rest of the EU, means renewed vigilance.
“The three conditions for a new wave of excess hospitalizations and deaths before the autumn are therefore in place: new variants, deficit in vaccine uptake, increased social mixing,” he said. “There will be a new wave in the WHO European region unless we remain disciplined, and even more so when there are far fewer rules in place to follow — and unless we all take the vaccine without hesitation when it is our turn.”
— Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe
Around 63% of European residents are still waiting for their first vaccine. That’s sobering to me.
France gets tougher on vaccinations.
Italy remains open while France sees more concerning trends. Yesterday, Macron announced new vaccine mandates for certain people with hints at increased restrictions on those unvaccinated. This is in response to a significant drop-off in vaccination rates and a less than 50% fully vaccinated population.
“All health workers in France must get COVID-19 jabs and anyone wanting to get into a cinema or board a train will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test under new rules announced by President Emmanuel Macron on Monday.
Unveiling sweeping measures to combat a surge in infections, Macron said vaccination would not be compulsory for the general public for now but stressed that restrictions would focus on those who are not vaccinated.”
— Ingrid Melander and Geert Clercq, Reuters, July 13, 2021 (read the full article here)
“We must go towards vaccination of all French people, it is the only way towards a normal life.”
In my opinion, this is important food for thought if we really are serious about turning the corner with confidence.
Italy Implements Vaccination Tracking
Information and clarity are still emerging for this, but we’ve already enrolled through the secure SPID portal. Vaccinations are tracked through one’s Codice Fiscale. Just two weeks ago I received my barcode through the IO.it app, confirming my first vaccination. After my second vaccination and the confirming barcode, this should serve as proof. I much prefer this than toting around a card or paperwork to prove I’m vaccinated.
We’ll see how much it’s needed and how well it works. Stay tuned.
So, for now, Italy remains open.
Let’s hope it stays that way and that people don’t get sloppy and land us back in restricted living once again.