Sicily finds itself having to dispose of 107,765 doses of AstraZeneca as soon as possible, avoiding making them expire. And now the Region will have to reschedule the open days reserving them for those over 60, given the stop to the Anglo-Swedish vaccine for all under 60s with the recommendation to use mRna vaccines (Moderna or Pfizer) as a second dose also for those who have received the first viral vector serum (namely Astrazeneca, since J&J is a single dose).
Those under the age of 60 who have already received the first dose of AstraZeneca, according to national regulations, will be guaranteed second doses with Pfizer or Moderna.
In all there are almost 26 million Italians who have yet to have the first dose of the vaccine and another 13.6 million who have to do the booster and of these at least 900 thousand have had the first dose with Astrazeneca and who will now do the second with Pfizer and Modern. Both Pfizer and Moderna are expected to deliver just over 52 million doses by the end of September. The risk is that it could slow down the mass vaccination campaign, with the consequent postponement of the herd immunity foreseen by the emergency commissioner Francesco Figliulo at the end of September.
Not only that: Italy, if the forecasts on arrivals until the end of the third quarter are confirmed, risks finding millions of doses of Astrazeneca and Johnson and Johnson unusable in the refrigerators.
The decision of the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza, on the advice of the experts of the Scientific Technical Committee after the death of the 18-year-old in Genoa and the perplexities of part of the scientific community, has already forced the Regions to cancel the open days – which if they are reorganized they will have to ” respect the indications for age groups »- and review the booking agenda.
What is worrying, as Figliuolo himself admitted, is the risk that the campaign could suffer a slowdown: “If you make a plan that rests on 4 legs plus one that could have been Curevac and then if one of these legs is crippled or limited it is clear that all plans are revised. I do not make dire predictions, I am convinced that we will close in September, but if we had to add another audience, for example 6-15 years, if Curevac does not arrive and if there are other obstacles, it is clear that we will not make it ».
According to the numbers provided by Figliuolo to the CTS, 7.2 million doses of mRNA vaccines should arrive by the end of the month (5.8 from Pfizer and 1.4 from Moderna), to which the 45 foreseen in the third must be added. quarter (31 of Pfizer and 14 of Moderna) for a total of 52.2 million. If Curevac’s serum is approved, Italy will have another 6.5 million by the end of September, for a total of 58.7 million doses of mRNA vaccines. A figure that, as Figliuolo said, allows you to go “smoothly” only if there are no other hitches.
The same general, among other things, already on May 10 in a note to the CTS had signaled that the quantity of mRNA vaccines would be less than necessary. “In light of the number of people already vaccinated and of the one who received the first dose and that, therefore, the need for the second – he wrote – the needs necessary to complete the campaign by September in 73 million doses were defined against a forecast of an influx of about 68. Basically, the need for mRNA vaccines is higher than the forecast of supplies ». Considering that the recalls for 900 thousand and 2.3 million 12-15 year olds have been added to this situation, the numbers are at the limit.
Then there is the unknown Johnson & Johnson. Within the CTS there was a long discussion between those who wanted to equate it with Astrazeneca and those who instead claimed that there was not enough data and, in the end, this line passed. While considering the similarities with Az, the experts wrote in the report, “the current state of knowledge, the number of just over a million doses administered and the rarity” of thrombosis, “do not allow us to draw conclusive assessments with respect to the benefit / risk”. But even now this vaccine is recommended for people over 60. What is certain is that, again based on the numbers of Figliuolo, there are still 3.5 million over 60 who have not even had the first dose and 3.9 that they have to make the calls. Which require a total of between 7.4 and 11 million doses. But Italy, at the end of September, could have more than 50 million doses of Astrazeneca and J&J given that 10 million were expected in June and 40.7 in the third quarter. If they do not go to the Covax countries, as the Commissioner assumed, the risk of them expiring in the refrigerators is very high.