Italy Pushes Back as Health Care Workers Shun Covid Vaccines

ROME – Giulio Macciò tested negative for coronovirus and spent weeks receiving treatment for emphysema in a sealed-off hospital under the supervision of doctors and lung specialists – and a nurse who refused to be vaccinated. On 11 March, he died unexpectedly. A postmortem swab found that she had contracted the virus, as she was accompanied by 14 other patients and unclean nurses who had spent her shifts.

“It makes no sense that a person whose job is to heal the sick gives them covariates and kills them,” said Mr. Machia’s son, Massimiliano Maciao, who filed a complaint against San Martino Hospital in the northern city of Genoa . He believes that out of an estimated 400 nurses who refused vaccination for Kovid-19 at the hospital, his father was infected, 79 of whom died untimely.

As vaccination rollouts build momentum, businesses everywhere are grappling with whether they may need to vaccinate their employees around Europe and the United States to raise thorny ethical, constitutional, and privacy issues. But when that person is your health care worker, it all becomes necessary.

In Italy, the original Western Front in the war against Kovid, the outbreak of outbreaks in hospitals where medical personnel have chosen not to be inoculated, has raised fears that their stance is threatening public health. It has also sparked an overwhelming response from an Italian government that is struggling to get vaccinations on track.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Mario Draghi tested the legal limits of his government’s ability to address the problem by issuing a decree requiring workers to be vaccinated in health care facilities. It allowed hospital employers to suspend unpaid health care workers who refuse to do so.

Some legal analysts have stated that the requirement of a Kovid-19 inoculation for health workers may violate Italy’s privacy laws, and that someone who rejects it to take an unpaid leave, firing or forcing it to cause a specific article Can be unconstitutional which protects those who refuse health treatment.

But recent court rulings have interpreted the law differently, and Mr. Dhani has clarified that a breach of security cannot be tolerated for a country that has suffered more than 100,000 Kovid deaths.

“It is not at all true that unwanted workers are in contact with sick people,” he said at a news conference last week when asked about reports of unexplained health care workers “intending to” interfere with his government’s intentions declare.

For the epidemic, nurses and doctors stood as national heroes who sacrificed their waking hours, security, and sometimes to protect their compatriots. It has shocked Italians that up to 15 percent of those medical professionals in some major hospitals – who were given preference in the further vaccination rollout of older people – have stopped vaccination.

“It’s really disrespectful to the medical and health activist class that you have to force people to vaccinate themselves,” said Roberto Baroni, a virologist at the University of San Rafael in Milan.

Firing workers in Italy is extremely difficult, he said, hoping that the decree would cut salaries for any vaccine suspected, especially given the large amount of data indicating that the efficacy of the vaccines is worth the risk. He also worried that the implications of the high number of health professionals who refused to be vaccinated were disturbing.

“Unfortunately, there is a large body of doctors who are deeply ignorant,” said Mr. Burrioni, who suggested that “perhaps the selection process and then medical license is not effective enough for people to pursue a medical degree.”

While Italy’s populists, including the Five Star Movement and league parties, have exploited vaccine skepticism in recent years for political gains, the country is not even considered the most vaccine-skeptic in Europe, a dubious distinction that is usually But it falls in France. Italy also rapidly began vaccinations at the beginning of the year, as the previous government prioritized medical workers.

In January, the Minister of Health, Roberto Schapernza, stated on television that Italy, like its European allies, believed that it was better to persuade people to vaccinate than to vaccinate them as needed. “People who had to deal with the virus, our health care workers, are more aware than others,” he said. “I think that will be enough.”

But anti-vex health activists have struck a deep nerve.

In a nursing home outside Rome, almost all health care workers were selected not to be vaccinated, and three workers out of 36 older guests and a cluster of 27 burst. The owner of the house, Roberto Agresti, feared the worst for him. “If we had a law forcing everyone to vaccinate, the virus would have passed it without us as well,” he said.

In the southern city of Brindisi, the local health authority has taken disciplinary proceedings against 12 health care workers who categorically refused vaccination. It is also investigating why about 140 health care workers, including doctors, nurses, pediatricians and specialists, refused shots of the Pfizer vaccine.

“We don’t want to punish workers – we need them,” said Giuseppe Pasqualone, who heads the local health authority. “But the risk of contagion is very high not only for them but also for fragile patients.”

Officials at the San Martino hospital, where Mr. Massio died, said it is unclear whether the unaffiliated nurse was the source of the cluster, but acknowledged that it was a problem.

The director of Europe’s fourth-largest hospital, Salvatore Giuffrida, said he was in favor of the need for vaccination because it would also keep medical personnel healthy and strengthen the defensive lines as a brutal third wave spreads across northern Italy.

“We can’t keep them on the job,” he said. “The objective is not to lose soldiers during a war in a nation that complains about not having health care workers.”

He estimated that about 15 percent of his nursing staff, about 400 nurses, were unlicensed. Simply removing those nurses from the wards, or redirecting them to the switchboard, as some have proposed, “would be a worse cure than the disease”, he said, because it would lead to a shortage of 250 beds.

He and other directors said Italy’s strict confidentiality laws prevented hospitals from knowing which doctors and nurses were ineligible.

Paolo Petralia, director general of Loveganna Hospital in Chiavari, the site of another outbreak in this month, said 90 percent of his doctors were vaccinated, as well as about 80 percent of nurses and assistants.

“They are protected by privacy laws,” he said citing recently Accented by the Data Protection Authority of Italy Vaccination status of health workers should be unknown. “But this right exists as long as it does not limit another person’s right,” Mr. Petralia said.

Some Italian courts have agreed. In 2017, Italy Was made Some vaccinations are mandatory for children, including measles, and the ineligible are barred from going to school – a decision supported by the Constitutional Court of Italy because it also protects public health. In the northern city of Belluno, a court ruled in mid-March that a nursing home that employed several health care workers who opted not to get vaccinated could force them to take paid leave.

Mr Maxey, whose father died in Genoa, said it made no sense that those assigned to care for his father were allowed to potentially harm him. He said he had complained to doctors, who reported that his hands were tied because the nurses were protected by confidentiality rules.

But something is changing between Italy’s desperation and the new decree. Mr Maksi said police sought his father’s help in identifying the nurses who were going to pick up his belongings.

“I hope it brings some good results,” he said of his father’s death. “These people should change their jobs.”

Emma Bubola Contributed to reporting.

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