3.7 million Italians over 50 still not vaccinated says Sileri.
Compulsory covid vaccinations "must remain the last resort" - said Italy's deputy health minister Pierpaolo Sileri - "but in the meantime we will have to convince all these millions of people to get vaccinated and it will take an enormous effort because the No Vax, idiots, have done enormous damage, spreading lies."
Sileri, in an interview published in Italian newspaper of record Corriere della Sera on Sunday, cited the World Health Organisation estimate that covid-19 could result in 236,000 more deaths in Europe between now and 1 December, due to rising infections and stagnating vaccination rates.
"That is another 30,000 in our country. And do you know the reason? There are 3.7 million Italians over 50 who are not yet vaccinated, they have not even received the first dose" - said Sileri - "And with these numbers, if the virus does not stop, after the fourth wave we could also have the fifth."
Sileri said that a "face to face autumn campaign" is required, involving family doctors and pharmacists, to "convince the doubters."
"Unfortunately there are also many No Vax doctors who instill doubts. They should be thrown out quickly" - said Sileri, adding - "And politicians from all parties should go on TV and say: the vaccine saves lives."
Sileri said that the Green Pass "must be extended, in the public and private sectors", describing the digital certificate - which shows that people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19 - as "very effective."
Sileri's comments come after Italian premier Mario Draghi confirmed last week that the government is considering making covid-19 vaccinations obligatory for everyone, once the vaccines get full approval by European and Italian regulators.
Health minister Roberto Speranza also said in recent days that Italy would begin giving third doses of the covid vaccine to people with the most fragile immune systems later this month.
Details about the Green Pass can be found - in Italian - on the Certificazione Verde website while for official information about the covid-19 situation in Italy - in English - see the health ministry website.
Cover image: Turin covid vaccination centre. Photo credit: MikeDotta / Shutterstock.com.
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