By Donovan Levine
A third wave of COVID-19 has hit Italy as the country revisits a steady rise in infections, climbing up to 25,000 a day and increasing over the past six weeks.
Towns across the country held a minute’s silence on Thursday, March 18 as Italy mourned the victims of the novel coronavirus that has killed more than 100,000 in 13 months. It was also the anniversary of the day dozens of army trucks rolled into the Italian city of Bergamo to remove coffins over-accumulating in churches.
COVID-19 made its debut in the Western world in the Lombardy region of Italy over a year ago, and once again the region finds its hospitals flooded with infected citizens and a rising death toll.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Italy’s top priority remained to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible. His statement follows the unprecedented move on March 4 when the EU blocked a shipment of 250,000 vaccine doses heading from Rome to Australia, as reported by the Daily Mail.
On March 15, Germany, France, Spain and a list of other nations in the EU had suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was one of the first and cheapest vaccines to be released, over concerns regarding ‘dangerous blood clots,’ according to AP.
These countries, however, resumed use of the vaccine after further review, declaring the brain clots to be considered ‘rare’ and the vaccine as ‘safe and effective’ by Emer Cooke, the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) executive director.
The EMA’s review, which covered 17 million people who had taken the shot, discovered no connection between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots or increased risk of blood clots.
The World Health Organization has also confirmed its support for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“We trust that, after the regulators’ careful decisions, vaccinations can once again resume across Europe,” said AstraZeneca Chief Medical Officer Ann Taylor in a statement released by the company. I
It was reported that the initial hold on the vaccine was a decision made on the abundance of caution, but the decision has run the risk of damaging public trust in the vaccine and has delayed the vaccination process for the EU even further as it lags behind Britain and the US.