The Gemmato case explodes. After the words of the Undersecretary of Health on vaccines, the controversy erupts very hard and requests for resignations arrive from many quarters. “For a large part of the pandemic, Italy was first in terms of mortality and third in terms of lethality, so I don’t see these great results achieved” – said Gemmato during the Rai 2 ‘Restart broadcast. And to the observation that “without vaccines it would perhaps have been worse”, the undersecretary replied: “You say this, we do not have the reverse burden of proof. But I do not fall into the trap of taking sides for or against vaccines”. Words that come as Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni was speaking in Indonesia at the G20 health working session. “The pandemic has shown the great fragility of our societies in the face of unexpected health crises – he said – a dangerous situation that we have a duty to face in a structural way, without ever giving in to the easy temptation to sacrifice the freedom of our citizens in the name of protection of their health. Freedom and health go hand in hand – he continued – because certainly, if you don’t have health, freedom is useless. But on the other hand, what is health without freedom?”. Covid-19 is declining in many countries, including Italy – Meloni said – . Thanks to the extraordinary work of the health personnel, to vaccines, to prevention, to the empowerment of citizens, life has gradually returned to normal”.
In Italy, however, the controversies surrounding Gemmato’s words continued to hold sway throughout the day, leading the undersecretary to reject the allegations to the sender with an official note: “Vaccines are precious weapons against Covid, my words decontextualized and subject to easy manipulations”. “I am amazed by the exploitation that the opposition has been mounting in recent hours regarding some of my statements. I have always supported the validity of vaccines and the ability they have to protect above all the most fragile”. And it is precisely from the opposition that a barrage arises. “An undersecretary of health who denies vaccines cannot remain in office” – said the secretary of the pd Enrico Letta asking for his resignation. Also along the same lines is the leader of the Third Pole, Carlo Calenda, “an undersecretary of health who does not distance himself from no-vax is definitely in the wrong place”. The secretary of Più Europa Benedetto Della Vedova shares the same opinion: “I openly No-vax and anti-scientific government. I ask Giorgia Meloni if she wants to correct this position too or if that’s okay with her”. And the numerous reactions from the political world have been joined by those of science and medicine. From Bassetti to Lopalco up to the president of Italian doctors. “150,000 deaths have been avoided with vaccines – said the president of Fnomceo Anelli – and 20 million worldwide”. “From Gemmato the record of disinformation – said the epidemiologist Pierluigi Lopalco for his part. “It is very serious that it comes from an undersecretary of Health”. “Dangerous words – says life senator and scientist Elena Cattaneo – and data that say something else “. “I am vaccinated – Gemmato intervened again – and the controversy is a weapon of mass distraction”. “I note the fact that unfortunately we cannot talk about vaccines in a serene and detached way”. generated ex post – he added – I wanted to talk about what didn’t work during the pandemic”. “My party presented a vaccination plan before all the other parties. I am in charge of party health. No vax ideas don’t hotel in our thoughts. And just the Brothers of Italy gathers around the undersecretary. The deputy foreign minister, Edmondo Cirielli, branded the controversies regarding the undersecretary as “ridiculous and biased”, as did the group leader in the Senate, Lucio Malan, who defined the controversies as “usual exploitative work”.
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