Giorgia Meloni orders the reintegration of unvaccinated carers… and provokes the revolt of the Regions

In France as in Italy, the possibility of reintegrating caregivers not vaccinated against the coronavirus divides the political class and society. But if in France the High Authority for Health (HAS) has vetoed for the moment, the situation has just changed on the other side of the Alps. Throughout the election campaign, Giorgia Meloni had promised to break with health policy of the three previous governments, particularly in terms of managing the Covid-19 pandemic. To seduce the Italian electorate of all trends, the face of the Italian far right has sworn to abolish the compulsory vaccination, mandatory for health workers until December 31, and to reinstate the 3,500 doctors and 2,500 suspended and unpaid nurses for one year.

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In practice, however, this decision will not affect all concerned caregivers. “According to our estimates, about a thousand doctors will be able to resume their activities in the hospital sector because some of the doctors suspended for a year have in the meantime reached retirement age and another works in the private sector” explains Dr. Filippo Anelli, President of the National Federation of Surgeons and Dentists (Fnomceo). Paramedics are also concerned, but the National Federation of Nursing Orders (Fnopi) has not yet published data on the number of nurses who will be reinstated.


For the Ministry of Health, two elements justify this decision. The outbreak is in a completely different stage now and there is a shortage of health workers in hospitals. But for Dr. Anelli as for much of the scientific community, this second explanation does not hold up at all because “About 20,000 doctors missing from the public, especially in important services such as emergencies, intensive care and cardiology”. The reintegration of a thousand practitioners therefore represents a drop in the ocean that does not solve the problem. All the more so as, moreover, unvaccinated doctors and nurses will certainly be transferred to care units that pose no risk to frail patients. This was clearly stated by the regional institutions in charge of managing this particularly hot dossier by the Ministry of Health: the “no-vax”, as they are called in Italy, will not return.

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Anger is spreading from one end of the country to the other and the governors of the regions promise to fight. Regional institutions refuse to reintegrate unvaccinated doctors and nurses on the pretext that their return threatens the health of frail patients. In Puglia, for example, Michele Emiliano, magistrate and democratic governor of this region of southern Italy, dusted off a regional system adopted in 2018. “This text establishes that only health workers who have carried out compulsory vaccinations according to the Italian protocol in force can work in certain services and have access to health facilities. In 2021, we added coronavirus prophylaxis. The situation is therefore extremely clear. explains Michele Emiliano. In other words, unvaccinated caregivers will not pass. The Ministry of Health threatened to go to the regional administrative court and ask for the device to be canceled. A useless step has already answered Michele Emiliano, as the deadlines set by law have largely expired.

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Also in the south of the country, in Campania, Vincenzo De Luca, the president of the region who in 2020 had promised to send the police with flamethrowers to force his fellow citizens to respect the confinements, also pulled out the ax. In a circular addressed to the directors of regional hospitals and local social security bodies, this fiery politician called for avoiding contact between unvaccinated patients and health workers, effectively banning them from entering hospitals. In Emilia-Romagna, on the other hand, the authorities rely on the council of the regional order of doctors who do not want to reinstate their colleagues. In the north of the country the situation is simpler. In Piedmont, for example, the number of unvaccinated doctors is almost zero. The battle for reintegration promises to be long and complicated and could even end up in court.

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