Covid, authorization for virologists on TV? The revolt of the professors: “Let’s start with politicians who don’t understand anything about vaccines”

Covid, authorization for virologists on TV? The revolt of the professors: “Let’s start with politicians who don’t understand anything about vaccines”
Covid, authorization for virologists on TV? The revolt of the professors: “Let’s start with politicians who don’t understand anything about vaccines”

There are those who call it a gag, those who believe it is censorship and those who remember that fascism in Italy no longer exists and those who ask that perhaps the limitation concerns politicians who do not understand anything about viruses and vaccines. Scientists commenting on the agenda signed by the deputy of the Mixed group (former M5s) is an unanimous chorus. Giorgio Trizzino, welcomed yesterday by the Government, which asks that virologists, immunologists, infectious diseases on TV, on the radio or interviewed by newspapers speak only if authorized by the structure to which they belong. The experts, most of them university professors and often leading workers and departments, do not fit in even if according to Fabrizio Pregliasco, which often cites the infodemic as one of the communication problems on Covid, a code of ethics and / or a charter that contains methods and principles for the dissemination of scientific news. That said there is the manifesto of Piacenza entered the code of the duties of the journalist which provides very precise criteria.

“I work in a public hospital and when I talked about my patients or the facility I was always authorized. Sorry to read certain things and those who proposed this agenda may not know some issues. I am a university professor – he tells Adnkronos Salute Matteo Bassetti, director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic of the San Martino Polyclinic in Genoa – and as such I speak as much as I want and no one gags me, because otherwise we are facing Fascism. I have the qualifications to talk about the virus and the vaccine, preventing me from speaking would be very serious. If the government were to take this step – observes the doctor – we will be the only country in the world that limits the thinking of university professors. So I can’t even write a book about the virus? Or give an interview to a newspaper? We risk expiring deeply ”.

“If this proposal is aimed at avoiding a media overexposure which could mislead the correct message that must reach the citizens, it could be useful to talk about it. However, I stress that we must avoid bringing firewood to those who are already raising the presence of a ‘health dictatorship’. In my opinion it is right that there is a plurality of voices in the media ”, because“ citizens know how to orient themselves, and that even people who think differently from us are listened to correctly. But science – says the director of the Inmi Spallanzani of Rome, Francesco Vaia – it must be autonomous and independent in order to do its job well and get us out of the emergency “.

“In my opinion there should be rather a card for all who speak“Of Covid on TV, radio, newspapers and media in general” such as journalists, opinion leaders and non-experts “that guarantees” the ethics of what they tell and the truthfulness of their statements “, citing” from whom and where they got them learned ”argues Pregliasco, lecturer at the State University of Milan. “The authorization of the structure cannot be censored, what does it give us in terms of quality of intervention? We need a code of ethics but for everyone. The problem is not the virologists, they turn the blame to us but it is the journalist or the columnist of the case who confuses and therefore a code of ethics is welcome, with essential elements, according to which one, when he says something, must prove its scientificity and the fact that he is informed and by whom he is informed. It has to be declared a bit like the conflict of interest. When we attend congresses – explains the doctor – the first thing we need to do is declare conflict of interest, biography and bibliography that are referred to for the statements. This is, but it must be for everyone, including the opinion leaders who are the worst “.

“The risk – feared the expert – is that they will make the virologists who have studied disappear, continuing to let others talk. There is a need for information but what prevails, I see in some broadcasts, are three or four commentators who throw away what Mrs. Maria thinks, which is right but – Pregliasco warns – there must be an interlocution. A columnist cannot say ‘the vaccine is experimental, he must say’ I want to know if it is experimental ‘which is different. Instead, what happens in broadcasts is this: messages that pass incorrectly. Sometimes – he remembers – I argued in broadcasts because he let this concept pass and if he passes as a testimonial, if a journalist who is an informed and educated person says so, it means that he has this indication“. “I – concludes the virologist – will continue if I am asked to have my say because I believe that health education and information based on scientific data that are updated over time is worthwhile and necessary”.

“If invited, I go on TV or on the radio to talk about what I know and if I have to ask for authorization from my facility, I do it. But – comments Massimo Andreoni, head of Infectious Diseases at the Tor Vergata Polyclinic in Rome and scientific director of the Italian Society of Infectious and Tropical Diseases (Simit) – I am also a university professor and to think of placing constraints on the voice of science or limiting it is prehistoric. I can understand that there has often been an overexposure of colleagues but at this point iwe begin to mitigate the interventions of politicians too who on TV talk about the virus or vaccines without knowing anything “

Massimo Galli, head of the Sacco Hospital in Milan, among the most well-known and loved faces on television, also finds the agenda out of the place: “The one on the agenda at the Dl Green Pass that talks about authorization of health facilities to doctors to be able to talk to the media is really a strange way out. It is strange that a professional has to undergo a preventive censorship in expressing an opinion or on a technical explanation on Covid. This is a gag ”. “Of course – he adds – there are people who say absolute nonsense, others who say and then unsubscribe, but there are also professionals who explain things as they are. But in this case we are at the grotesque: preventing doctors from speaking is like saying that a lawyer cannot discuss legal arguments on TV and in newspapers or an engineer of technical matters “. Lapidary with a tweet Roberto Burioni, Professor of Virology at the San Raffaele University, Milan: “Virologists too often on TV? Personally I have not appeared on TV since May 30th “

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