In Lazio the generalized stop at vaccinations seems averted at the last. “As long as the doses arrive today in the Cesarini area, as we have been assured”, the councilor for health crosses his fingers Alessio D’Amato. But for some categories the ASL have already blocked needles and syringes: come on prof ai janitors, ai traffic wardens. No injections. Waiting for hospital refrigerators to fill up. It seems a paradox, but on Monday the doses of AstraZeneca which are now missing from the capital were crammed into the Catalent plant in Anagni, 50 kilometers from Rome. There the serum was filled into the bottles.
Vaccini, in Rome and Lazio in the pharmacy from 20 April: we start with those aged 55 to 60 years
Then the bottles went to Antwerp, Belgium, where the distribution company chosen for the whole of Europe by the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant is based. And now they will arrive late in Italy: not yesterday, as agreed, but, perhaps, at 2pm today. Councilor D’Amato is worried: of the 25 thousand vaccinations that the Region manages to ensure every day, over 8-9 thousand depend on AstraZeneca serum. A good third of the total.
The blanket is very short, because Lazio, the region that has vaccinated the most elderly and which has recently exceeded one million administrations, is using almost all the ammunition in the barrel: 85% of the vials in the warehouses have been inoculated, trusting in the the fact that deliveries from now on would be more regular. At this rate, it doesn’t take much for the car to run out of diesel. The latest reference from AZ has already forced the local health authorities to suspend injections for the priority categories: teachers, law enforcement officers, traffic wardens, the latest health workers not yet vaccinated, such as freelance doctors and dentists. If no other supplies arrive, there is really the danger that even the appointments of the over 70s will slip. Already yesterday evening Pisana warned the vaccinated: “We apologize in advance to the users if in the next few hours there should be difficulties in the regularity of the administrations, not dependent on our will “.
The latest patch available is the AstraZeneca batch suspended before Ema and Aifa fully confirmed its efficacy and safety. “We are working with the batch of released doses, until exhaustion,” explains D’Amato. This is 5-6 thousand doses, a good replacement for a poor day. “But we have a million bookings between now and May. We need vaccines and clear data, week by week, not quarterly forecasts ”, continues the head of Health in the Zingaretti junta.
In the meetings with the local health authorities, various hypotheses were examined, though difficult to practice. Some have suggested replacing AstraZeneca with Pfizer. But the move is not without consequences, due to the recall: it is set at 3 weeks for Pfizer, after 3 months for AstraZeneca. «If we change the type of drug during the race, what will we do in 21 days? – thinks a vaccination manager – In the hubs both who has to do the booster and who has the appointment for the first dose would appear at the same time. All bookings should be reviewed. ” Complicated.
The most penalized for the shortage of vials are general practitioners. “They give us one vial a week: 6 doses,” complains Pier Luigi Bartoletti, Roman secretary of Fimmg (federation of general practitioners). “We are forced to do 10-15 thousand vaccinations a week, when we could do 50 thousand a day”.
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