As of January 6, a total of 259,481 people had been vaccinated in Italy against Covid-19.
This accounts for 54.1 percent of the 479,700 doses delivered by the EU as part of Italy’s first batch of Pfizer vaccines.
These numbers put Italy in “second place” in the EU’s race for Covid immunisation, according to the president of Italy's Higher Health Council (CSS) Franco Locatelli.
The latest official data shows how Lazio continues to be the Italian region with the highest completion rate with 77.9 percent of doses administered, followed by Tuscany (75.1 percent) and Veneto (73.8 percent).
“We believe that this rate of inoculation should continue or accelerate further”, Domenico Arcuri, Special Commissioner for Italy’s Covid-19 emergency, told news channel TG1.
As of January 5, the regions at the bottom of vaccination ranking were Lombardy (21 percent of available doses), Valle d'Aosta (18.07 percent), Sardinia (9.8 percent) and Calabria (6 percent), with Lombardy reportedly having an even worse completion rate with just 12 percent.
Italy’s press is currently posing the question of how it’s possible for Lombardy – the wealthiest and best medically equipped region in the country – to be experiencing such delays in the distribution of its Covid vaccines, with the absence over hospital staff over the Christmas holidays being cited as the main setback.
“The organizational machine is accelerating and, within a few weeks, it will travel at full speed” stated ministerial sources, considering Italy’s numbers “already satisfactory today” despite the discrepancies between regions.
“The numbers place our country in second position on the continent for the quantity of doses administered, behind only Germany, which had a higher initial supply,” Chigi Palace sources added.
By Monday January 4th 265,000 vaccinations had been administered in Germany.
The UK achieved 1.3 million Covid vaccinations by January 5, according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, although the now officially non-EU nation did begin its vaccination campaign on December 8th.
Other European nations such as France and Spain have achieved far worse results with their vaccination campaigns, with rollouts marred by a lack of planning, excessive bureaucracy, Christmas holidays and logistical problems relating to the extreme refrigeration requirements of the Pfizer vaccine.
Other EU nations such as Portugal and the Netherlands are yet to begin the rollout.