of the Gimbe Foundation
The slogan “discontinuity” is absolutely legitimate but it must also be used to improve everything that the previous government was unable to do. From the more analytical collection of data on hospitalized patients to investments in aeration and ventilation systems; from the acceleration of coverage with vaccine boosters, to the implementation of therapeutic protocols for people at risk. At the moment, however, the discontinuity seems to be reduced to a mere dismantling of the measures in place and to a real “amnesty”
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On the agenda of today’s Council of Ministers there are some measures on the management of the COVID-19 pandemic which, if on the one hand aim to mark a political discontinuity, on the other hand, must be adequately weighed, taking into account both the impact on the public health, and the recommendations of international organizations.
Undoubtedly, with the evolution of the variants and the protection conferred by vaccination on severe forms, the COVID-19 disease today is no longer that of 2020-2021. However, the pandemic is still ongoing and both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) call on all countries to be prepared (preparedness) and ready (readiness), given the imminent arrival of the Cerberus variant and the unpredictability of medium-long term scenarios.
On the proposals circulated in the press in recent days, the GIMBE Foundation expresses the following assessments based on scientific evidence and common sense.
COVID Bulletin. The proposal for a weekly publication appears reasonable, also taking into account the considerable daily variability in the transmission and publication of data. It is unclear whether mandatory transmission to international organizations (WHO, ECDC) will also take place on a weekly basis.
In any case, it is essential to maintain the daily updating of COVID data and the vaccination campaign and to guarantee transparent access to researchers for independent analyzes and studies.
Abolition of the obligation to wear masks in hospitals and nursing homes. The use of masks in healthcare facilities is essential both to protect professionals and healthcare workers – avoiding further decimating staff with sick leave – and above all to protect the health of patients, especially the elderly and frail. Moreover, the idea of abolishing the national obligation and then legitimately reintroducing it at the regional or individual hospital and RSA level would generate disorientation for citizens, disputes with respect to the provisions adopted in individual health facilities and increase tensions with health personnel.
On the contrary, the obligation of masks in hospitals and RSAs should be made permanent, regardless of the pandemic in progress, in order to better protect the most vulnerable people from respiratory infections of any kind. And the use of this device, as indicated by the international public health authorities, is recommended in all crowded and / or poorly ventilated indoor environments.
Stop vaccination obligation for health personnel and no-vax health reintegration suspended from 1 November. The potential impact in terms of public health would be modest, both because the measure is brought forward by only two months with respect to the set deadline, and because it affects a small number of professionals.
The impact in terms of public perception of this “amnesty” and of the relationships with the vast majority of colleagues who have vaccinated themselves to protect the health of patients and their own, is quite different, also in order to guarantee continuity of service. Moreover, beyond an individual choice incompatible with the exercise of a health profession, these are people who have often sowed public disinformation about vaccines, elevating themselves to “champions” of the no-vax people, sometimes with obvious goals of affirmation individual policy.
If on the one hand their reintegration sends a profoundly unscientific message, it should be remembered that at the local level provisions can be established to entrust no-vax professionals with reintegration activities other than clinical-care ones, without configuring demotion.
Stop the fines for no-vax over 50 who have not complied with the vaccination obligation. The proposal – not on the agenda of the CdM today, but in any case circulated in recent days – is a suspension until June 30, 2023 of the fines for those who have not respected the vaccination obligation.
Irrelevant proposal from the health point of view – comments Cartabellotta – but unscientific and highly diseducative, given that it extends the “culture of amnesty” also to provisions that aim to protect public health.
The slogan “discontinuity” is absolutely legitimate in a democratic republic but it must also be used to improve everything that the previous government was unable to do. From the more analytical collection of data on hospitalized patients to investments in aeration and ventilation systems in closed rooms; from the acceleration of coverage with vaccine boosters, to the implementation of rigorous therapeutic protocols for people at risk.
At the moment, however, the discontinuity seems to be reduced to a mere dismantling of the measures in place and to a real “amnesty” in the illusory attempt to consign the pandemic to oblivion, ignoring the recommendations of the international public health authorities.
October 31, 2022
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