The mandatory nature of the vaccine, which Mario Draghi hypothesized two days ago and which ignited the already easily flammable political debate, looks a lot like a gun on the negotiating table. On the one hand, the state that aims at mass immunization against Covid; on the other, the 12 million unvaccinated Italians. In the middle the pistol of obligation, threatening and decisive. The basic question is whether it is loaded.
The obligation in Italy is already foreseen for some categories, moreover in fact the vaccine is a necessary condition to have access to certain freedoms such as travel, stadium or restaurant. But here we are talking about an obligation comparable to that of childhood vaccinations (diphtheria, polio, etc.), which would entail economic sanctions and even compulsory health treatment for those who refuse. It would be the H bomb on the Hiroshima of the no vax, a definitive solution, but very conflicting. For this reason, the government, which even constitutionally would be free to impose it even tomorrow morning, had never mentioned the obligation. The weight of such a peremptory decision cannot be sustained independently.
However, it is different if the drug authority provided a green light (not surprisingly quoted by the premier at a press conference) which would work as a scientific indemnity. However, this will happen for Pfizer only in 2023. Before then, no full authorization for the drug and therefore no formal endorsement, at most partial data that are more or less encouraging. Politics is alone: if Draghi wants to impose the obligation, he must legislate without the EMA “umbrella”, as only Indonesia, Micronesia, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan have done so far. A gamble, even on the issue the majority is split.
That being the case, the feeling is that the gun on the table is likely unloaded. However, this does not necessarily mean ineffective. More than a bluff, the «OO – Operation Obligation» seems in fact a persuasive Cold War maneuver: it will also be almost impossible to implement, but just evoking it can crush a few more million citizens while the development of the real plan proceeds: the widespread extension of the green pass to workplaces, from public to private. In fact, a less bloody obligation, which would give a decisive blow to the campaign.
A perfect solution, if it weren’t for the fact that this is how the trade unions are called into question. Those who have so far boycotted the vaccine passport in company canteens with strikes, those who fight to prevent the no vax from being suspended from their salaries, those that Confindustria accuses not entirely wrongly of “systematic escape from responsibilities”. Those who could overturn a recent history of no and make the change for the safe restart of the country, but insist on asking for a general obligation that relieves them of the embarrassment of displeasing the no vax. They are the only ones who hope the gun is loaded.