There is the crystal-clear sea, the small coves of sand and pebbles, the small pastel-colored houses nestled one against the other along the port, the terraces of the small restaurants by the sea. The decor is set, welcome to Procida, the first “covid-free” municipality in all of Italy. Located in the Gulf of Naples, this small island as big as a pocket handkerchief, decided to take inspiration from the Greek model by vaccinating its entire population to revive tourism, the engine of the local economy.
Large stock of Johnson & Johnson vaccine
The operation was carried out with full force because in just one week, 6,115 inhabitants out of a population of 7,500 adults of age to be vaccinated, were immunized and the island reached the famous collective immunity. To successfully immunize 90% of the population, the town hall has counted on the delivery of a large stock of doses produced by the American multinational Johnson & Johnson, the only “single-dose” vaccine currently available on the market and approved in mid- March by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The biggest vaccination operation in Procida’s history was kicked off last Wednesday at a hub hastily installed in the city hall. After immunizing the over fifty in a single day, the doctors summoned residents aged 40 to 49 then young people aged 18 to 29 and finally those over 16 and those who had not yet received the second dose of Pfizer and Astrazeneca.
“Tourists will be able to come”
“We are the first covid-free zone on a national scale, tourists will be able to come back”, rejoices Dino Ambrosino, mayor of Procida, adding: “This operation is also important in terms of health because transporting a patient to the dry land is a difficult and above all very expensive operation, let’s say that our fragility pushed us to embark on mass vaccination ”.
Other Italian islands should follow the example of Procida. Starting with Capri and Ischia, the two other pearls of the Gulf of Naples. And also the island of Giglio in Tuscany where the liner Costa Concordia had run aground on the night of January 13, 2012, causing the death of 32 people. But this operation arouses criticism. Penalized by the lack of doses, some very touristy regions such as Emilia-Romagna and Veneto for example, cannot embark on flash vaccination and are already talking about unfair competition.
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