The cartoon featured on the front of the Saturday edition of Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper. “Respect the queue” orders the official. “I’m the cousin of Big Pharma” is the response.
An article in Friday’s London Financial Times cited Puglia as “the most vivid example of the dysfunctional vaccination rollout that has plagued [Italy]”, with thousands illegally jumping the queue using family connections and networks.
Although 98 per cent of people in the region aged 70-79 were still waiting for a first dose, along with almost half of over 80s as of the end of last week, over 140,000 people in the region have received a jab having been classed as priority medical workers.
But according to an official audit thousands appeared to have no links with the healthcare industry.
According to Antonio La Scala, the head of Puglia Region’s medical inspection unit “... Puglia doesn’t have this many healthcare workers”.
“We cross referenced the data with social security information and found there were many people getting doses with no right to them: friends of friends, associates, parents.”
His unit has handed its preliminary findings to Italian law enforcement and he hopes that those who illegally jumped the queue will be prosecuted.
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