The green pass between health and politics, the vaccination campaign, the need for tracking, the hypothesis-obligation launched by Mario Draghi. At the party of Everyday occurrence in Rome, interviewed by the deputy director Maddalena Oliva (review the meeting here), the microbiologist from the University of Padua Andrea Crisanti and the epidemiologist Gianni Rezza, Director General of Prevention at the Ministry of Health, have had their say on all fronts in the fight against the pandemic. Starting with the green certificate, now necessary to access a long list of activities: which for one is a measure exclusively political, for the other it can also have one health justification. “To say that the green pass creates safe environments it’s a nonsense ”, says Crisanti,“ it’s just a tool that encourage people to get vaccinated. To consider it a health measure we should measure its impact ”. Rezza, on the other hand – while admitting that the pass is “a substitute for the obligation“- remember that” it gives a certain degree of protection: if we are all vaccinated, we stay at a distance, we have a certain degree more likely to be protected. If the alternative is to blow the economy and the social relations, then it can be considered a public health measure ”.
There was also talk of the vaccination campaign, with others 3.5 million over 50s still without a dose. It is to them that Crisanti addresses: “With an R0 (the number that indicates the replication rate of the virus, ed) equal to 6 or 7, within a couple of years they will all become infected the unvaccinated, it must be said clearly. Because sooner or later one makes a mistake ”. And more than fifty years old, Rezza adds, “the risk of ending up in intensive care is there”, while “the vaccinated who end up in intensive care are very few, mostly over eighty with serious comorbidities “. The epidemiologist recalls that the most extreme no vaxes, the “ideological” ones, are less than 1% of the population, “a noisy minority”, while next to them there is “a large band of undecided people, influenced to some extent, which perhaps does not have the perception of the very high risk of contracting the disease “. On the other hand, he explains, it is normal for a number of vaccinated people to get sick, because “apart from the yellow fever vaccine, the others never protect 100%, indeed the anti-Covid ones have a better efficacy than many others. “. And then there is a paradoxical effect: “The more people get immunized, the more the vaccinated will get sick, because the unvaccinated will be fewer and fewer.”
Crisanti, however, shifts the focus of the reasoning: “We should stop talking about vaccinated and unvaccinated who get sick, and start thinking in terms of protection of the population“. He gives the example of England, which “has eliminated all restrictions but manages to keep the virus under control with a gigantic system of tracking e isolation: if they eliminated it, the cases would splash. Now that from us schools will reopen and social activities will resume, further testing is needed to prevent the numbers from growing. With a lethality rate that has dropped to 0,2%, with fifty deaths a day we should have 25 thousand contagions, while we count 5 thousand. Evidently many cases they escape us, because we test too little or test the wrong people ”. For this reason, he explains, “the tampons do not hit the mat, but in such a way as to intercept the transmission chains, while today we do if only the swab is good for cohabitants ”. And “it is necessary to distinguish between the different types of tests: antigenic and salivary ones can be useful for screening, molecular ones for tracing. The countries that have done better in this sense – he explains – are those that every year fight with infectious diseases and have a culture of prevention: let’s take the Vietnam, which has managed to do extraordinary things with a fifth of our GDP ”.
Finally, the case of Israel, where, despite the large vaccination campaign, cases and hospitalizations are on the rise. Here Crisanti raises a criticism of pharmaceutical companies: “Pfizer-induced immunity lasts between six and seven months. Then there is an important number of people who become infected, get sick and go to resuscitation, especially the frail and the elderly. This risks turning the hands of the clock back. Pfizer, Astrazeneca and Moderna they had the data on the duration of vaccinations from May-June: why didn’t they share them? It’s a little late to find out now that they last six months. Knowing this could also have influenced political decision makers. If the vaccine no longer has an effect because we are dealing with a variant, we can make doses of it even five or six, nothing changes, ”he says. “In Israel – confirms Rezza – there is an impressive increase in cases for a country that has vaccinated a lot and well. Their case shows that even the vaccinated can become infected and transmit the infection, and that some can develop a serious illness ”. Therefore “it is normal – he says – for vaccines to be made more than two doses. The fact of having to do an extra dose or a booster dose is normal for most vaccines, it does not mean that the vaccine does not work ”.
On the vaccination obligation announced by Prime Minister Mario Draghi, for Rezza “there is none nothing outrageous in hypothesizing it, but it should not be discussed in a prejudicial manner. However, there are technical and methodological problems: how is it applied? Everything should be faced, discussed and planned “. While for Crisanti “if we had a vaccine that protects 85-90% and lasts at least a year, I say absolutely yes“.