With Omicron becoming the most dominant strain globally infecting more than 2 million people almost every single day since the start of the year, governments in many countries decided to tighten the pandemic measures using every single option they have left to make people get vaccinated against the deadly virus.
Biden’s vaccine-or-testing mandate was blocked by the Supreme Court last week resulting with relief for the vaccine hesitant, at least for now, but some countries are determined to go all the way through and implement vaccine mandates for everyone regardless of their age, sex or previous infection status.
One of these countries is Italy where the local government is about to require everyone over the age of 50 to be vaccinated starting February 1, otherwise, those who will refuse the vaccine after this date will face large fines and losing their jobs. Italy’s government knows what the risk of uncontrolled spread of the virus looks like since the country was heavily hit by the Covid-19 in the early stages of the pandemic.
As we already reported few months ago, there has been very dangerous trend in Italy, especially in the northern areas with the Austria border, where people organized parties with Covid-positive cases sharing drinks and hugging all in effort to get infected with Covid-19 and therefore, to be eligible to get the so-called ‘green pass’ without getting vaccinated. At least one person who contracted the virus at those parties later died as a result of Covid-19 complications.
Italian and Austrian authorities have been working together in battling that trend and that kind of parties are not organized in the Italian northern region anymore. However, with announcing the vaccine mandate for people over 50, a similar trend continues across the country, but in a way different and more sophisticated format.
According to Daily Mail that was among the several major news outlets who reported about the new trend, Italian anti-vaxxers are paying $150 to have dinner and wine with Covid-positive people so that they can catch coronavirus and avoid getting jabbed.
The new trend stemmed from the vaccine mandate since the only alternative to getting the vaccine is to recover from Covid-19, due to the body’s development of antibodies during an infection. Just like all the other countries, in order someone to be exempted from the vaccine mandate, the recovery from the infection must be registered on a person’s national health card.
As soon as the vaccine mandate was announced by the government, tens of advertisements and offers were found online in a matter of hours. While those Covid-positive were offering dinner dates and parties so the unvaccinated can contract the virus, the vaccine hesitant were asking the opposite, willing to pay to hang out with currently positive cases.
One such party offer – uncovered in Tuscany – included a truffle dinner with Barolo wine, along with a Covid-positive person. Attendance cost $150. ‘I am urgently looking for a positive and I am willing to pay,’ one anti-vaxxer wrote online according to Italian police, cited by The Daily Beast.
According to the local health experts, those involved in such situations should know that their behavior is punishable by law and asked the authorities to arrest these people since they are working opposite of Italy’s efforts in battling the pandemic.
‘This uses the same logic as playing Russian roulette. For a person who has never had COVID, who has not been vaccinated, encountering this virus can mean a mild form of the disease, but it can also it means ending up in intensive care,’ infectious disease expert Pier Luigi Lopalco said. ‘The discriminating factor between these two occurrences, probably, lies in genetics. And there is nothing that can be done to know in advance.’
Italy has registered 139,265 deaths linked to the virus since its outbreak emerged in February 2020, and has reported 7.55 million cases to date.