«Six and a half million citizens booked, we are 70% of the first doses administered to those who have joined the campaign: over 4.3 million. According to scientific indications we have achieved community immunity ». The tone with which Letizia Moratti – vice president and councilor for welfare of Lombardy – illustrates the progress of the battle against the virus reveals optimism, after 5 months at the helm of the Health of the region that was the western epicenter of the pandemic.
Councilor, at what point is the night?
“Let’s say we’re approaching dawn. We still need to be very attentive to new variants and also to possible future pandemics. However, we have achieved positive results in the vaccination campaign and all the indicators place us in the white band. Now we count on the fact that the situation will be confirmed in the next week and from 14 June we will be able to reopen completely ».
Would the Region want to anticipate the times or will it wait for the established deadline?
“I share the approach of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who tries to keep together the needs of public health and economic, labor and social ones, especially for certain categories severely affected by the consequences of the pandemic and for our young people, who need to recover their social life “.
But is there really an alarm for new waves or new viruses?
«It is our duty to be prepared, it is one of the lessons of this year and a half. So Lombardy is gearing up to face any Covid queues or other epidemics, for example with a plan for a possible third vaccine recall, and then with research: sequencing, tracing, monoclonal treatments, involvement of general practitioners to enter the social fabric “.
Did you find any differences between the management of Commissioner Domenico Arcuri and that of General Francesco Figliuolo who took over from him?
«Previously we were instructed to proceed by categories, for example for“ public utility services ”. So each Region decided for itself and someone vaccinated the lawyers. Now we have clear indications: the age groups and the priority for the most vulnerable. And in Lombardy, in agreement with the government, we have added the experiment of reactive vaccination, targeted in the areas most affected by the virus. In Viggiù, for example, we have 87 percent of vaccinations and infections have dropped by 30 times ».
How did the young people respond? How are the excluded elderly recovered?
«The boys have given an extraordinary response, since June 3 we have already reached 600,000 subscribers for the 12-29 age group. A great sense of responsibility that is probably driven by the desire to recover one’s freedom of movement, but also by love for parents and grandparents. I am reading you an important passage of the sense of community. As for the elderly, Lombardy is the most virtuous region with regard to vaccinations aged 60 and over. And in any case, together with the Municipalities we are trying to recover them one by one ».
In short, after a problematic start, is the Lombard vaccination campaign now proceeding swiftly?
«We hope to get a first dose to all citizens who have joined by the end of July. We have a potential capacity of 170,000 administrations per day thanks to the dedication of our doctors, nurses, volunteers and administrators. And if we have only received 0.5% of refusal for the AstraZeneca vaccine, it is also because our doctors have spent their time giving explanations and trust ».
However, the change of digital platform proved decisive. Those criticisms were well founded.
«On the Aria platform I had doubts from the beginning but I wanted to give it a chance. Then we moved on to the services of the Italian Post Office and things got better ».
How did you go through that difficult phase?
“When occupying a position of responsibility, one must always be ready for adverse scenarios”.
But it also received a lot of criticism?
“I always get the incentive to improve from criticism.”
How do you judge the contribution given by virologists to the public debate, you who were able to observe it first from the outside and then as a health councilor?
“A spokesperson has been identified in the United States, Great Britain and Germany and only that figure speaks. The excess of debate, now reduced, did not help ».
What’s in its future? Will you be a candidate for the leadership of the Region?
“I dealt with television, banks, schools and universities, a Municipality and now the Lombard Healthcare always with an eye on the future of the community, not mine”.