June 11, 2021
What a pretty face Camilla had, with that smile that made the light in her eyes explode even more. That joy will also have accompanied her on 25 May at the AstraZeneca Open Day in Genoa, together with many of her very young peers: many like her will have cheerfully taken the opportunity for a summer free from the virus, with the coveted green pass that would have allowed everyone to move and maybe return to have fun with friends. Camilla’s smile died yesterday at the San Martino hospital in Genoa, where she had been hospitalized for a severe form of thrombosis almost certainly caused by that vaccine. We will remember Camilla for that beautiful face full of happiness, and certainly not for having become a number in the series of “serious and lethal adverse events” of Covid viral vector vaccines, such as that of AstraZeneca that she had just received.
Once the tragedy became public, as always the grotesque ballet was unleashed on TV where politicians, virologists, statisticians and experts were mixed as we have seen in recent months. We have seen Antonella Viola being moved by the case and repeating that she had said not to do it to young people anymore, Matteo Bassetti arguing that the contraceptive pill is more dangerous but it is okay not to do it to young people anymore, and here and there everyone argues that obviously the risk had been feared by them, and for sure we would have found a fragment of a talk show where Massimo Galli, Fabrizio Pregliasco, Andrea Crisanti and all the company of the great show of television virology had warned of what unfortunately then happened. And they are right: that they said on Monday, and often on the Tuesday of the following week they said the exact opposite. I went to see the archive of their statements and without remembering them here one by one and day by day I can guarantee that they have expressed whatever. It depended on the period: cautious when it was necessary to be, optimistic when it was necessary to spread safety, perhaps because there was no more dose of that vaccine and strength game, you had to do another one. Then AstraZeneca, which was almost thought to be banned under a certain age, suddenly became very sure, because lethal reactions could be counted on the fingertips of one hand and little more. We had a group of institutional experts who had the responsibility if not to at least suggest and almost impose clear-cut decisions and choices on the government: that Technical Scientific Committee (CTS) led by Professor Franco Locatelli. But nothing came clear and clear from them.
A few months ago they had copied the choice of Ema (the European drug agency) which “advised” not to do AstraZeneca under the age of 60. When it was done, none of them opened their mouths seeing the authoritative advice thrown into the trash. And the race of health councilors has started (starting with Lazio) to offer that vaccine in “Open Day” open to lower and lower ages. The governors of the regions started a race to get AstraZeneca done to convince their fellow countrymen that the vaccine was safe. Someone even canceled the reservation for a Pfizer dose by swapping it for one of the viral vector vaccine. Attilio Fontana in Lombardy, Nicola Zingaretti in Lazio, Nello Musumeci in Sicily, Giovanni Toti in Liguria and many others did it publicly. Since they are not fools, evidently to them some of the experts they trusted told them with confidence in private what they hesitated to repeat with the same clarity in public: “You risk nothing, that vaccine is safe”. But a case of news is enough to make everyone raise the alarm about insecurity. Because our scientists are like this: all pallonari, specialists in throwing the ball into the stands. Useful for the show, much less useful for public health choices. And they continue to do so: yesterday our CTS met with great urgency on the wave of emotion for Camilla (and with the concern of other not yet lethal cases that have occurred in this vaccine race for all), it seems from the first rumors that he is very ready to relaunch it for the umpteenth time in the stands: the advice to make that vaccine only over the age of 60 will be strengthened (so it seems to them) becoming a “strengthened recommendation” to limit its use below that age. Something like a grandmother’s scene.
Is it possible that no one in this country takes responsibility? We have entrusted everyone’s life in the hands of experts for more than a year with the health emergency and there is no one capable of saying “Yes” or “No” clearly, forbidding or not if it is considered right to do so? And maybe if it is then forbidden to find a solution for hundreds of thousands of young people vaccinated like this without even thinking about it, but they will need a second dose.
From some of these balloon experts I heard yesterday that AstraZeneca’s serious adverse events cause the death of 2 vaccinated every 100,000 under the age of 50 (therefore one every 50,000 vaccinated), and that this percentage would be higher than lethality of the virus. This is false, because data on the lethality of the virus is available to everyone. On 1 June last one out of every 2,613 infected women under the age of 50 and one man of the same age for every 1,188 infected died of coronavirus. Under the age of 30, regardless of sex, one Italian died for every 11,774 infected. These are all higher numbers than AstraZeneca’s lethal risk. But now the virus is hibernating, as it did the other summer with the rising temperatures. The risk of contagion is getting much lower, and the government has many doses of Pfizer and Moderna at its disposal. Were it only for common sense, any viral vector vaccine under the age of 60 should be banned and those in Rmna made available. By deciding. Without throwing the ball into the stands for the umpteenth time.