Lazio region shines in Covid battle

I'm done. Not many people here now as Sunday lunchtime!!!

I’m done. Not many people here now as Sunday lunchtime!!!

Last spring when Covid vaccinations started, I was very envious of my friends in the US who were able to get vaccinated months before those of us in the same age group – over 65 – over here. But then, lo and behold, in a country not known for efficiency, a miracle occurred.  Italy’s vaccination program was up and running before one knew it. And double lo and behold, the Lazio region  (the capital of which is Rome) with a reputation for being a laggart. suddenly became a front-runner- We’ll never know exactly how this happened. Should all the kudos go to Nicola Zingaretti, Lazio’s center-left Regional President (these days the Italians are starting to use the word Governor)? Or it this the work of Health Commissioner Alessio D’Amato who has been governing with Zingaretti since their ticket was elected to office in 2013 (and re-elected in 2018).?

Who knows. The fact is that at midnight on March 5, the day people from my birth year were allowed to reserve a slot, I was sitting in front of my computer following the pretty clear instructions that the Regione Lazio had put on line on its website. I was given a date for a first Pfizer shot on March 29 and was allowed to choose among a series of official structures in Rome, but had I wanted I could also have gone elsewhere in Lazio, for example in or near Bolsena where I have a house,k but that might have meant  waiting another couple of weeks. The second shot, like the first to be held at the Forlanini hospital about a 15 minute motorbike ride away (yes, I went on my motorbike because I was sure I would have no adverse effects) was scheduled for April 19.

Six months later, Lazio is one of the leaders in both Italy and in Europe with 88 percent of the population over 18 fully vaccinated (and 82 percent of the population over 12).

Lazio Health Commissioner Alessio D'Amato.

Lazio Health Commissioner Alessio D’Amato.

Not bad at all considering that there is still a hardcore minority which refuses to get the vaccine either out of fear (mostly irrational to my mind) or because of some sort of ideological stubbornness which given the strict rules for the workplace imposed last week by the Italian government – the so-called Green Pass –  actually prefer to pay €15 euros every two days for a rapid Covid test than get the shot, even the traditional style one-shot-only Johnson and Johnson. traditional vaccine. Oh well. At least the pharmacies providing this service are making a lot of money.

Why has Lazio done so well? To be honest, despite some snags elsewhere along the way, most of Italy’s 20 regions currently are at a very good point. But Lazio surely has made giant steps in making things easy. Once the third dose for people over 65 was announced, a couple of weeks ago, I made a quick calculation regarding when the sixth months after my second shot would have passed and went on line on October 14. The website, as presently configured,  gave a choice for third dose, first dose and second dose reservations, as well as providing special digital pathways for health sector personnel, people living or working in nursing homes and people with special immunological problems.  Signing up was even easier than last spring. I was told that I could book for any day starting October 16 and for every day a list of structures and time-slots was provided. Easy-peasy.  And in this regard I should mention that when the Green Pass was introduced in June – for vaccinated people it lasts 12 months, not two days – I quickly received the code to download a  European Green Pass that would replace my original vaccination certificate. This morning I received the code to update my current Green Pass to show I’d had a third shot as well.

In the name of full disclosure, I should reveal that there have been some glitches. I’ve read that some people have had trouble downloading their Green Pass, and there have been mix-ups for the few people who have had one shot on a different region and the second here in Lazio.  And I myself did have one problem: progomaòòy. I was going to get the jab on Saturday at the vaccination center near symphony call but when I got there at the assigned time, 10:30 a.m., the office was inexplicably closed (possibly because of the Rome Cinema Festival going on this week right next door??) and we were turned away. However, a phone call to the Lazio Regionìs Covid Reservations center  (which actually does answer the phone!!!) quickly put things right. They cancelled the Saturday appointment and I went back on line and booked for the following day. Not, naturally, at the same center but at one actually closer to my home.

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