Nearly 900 people showed up for free music, espressos and cornettis and a chance to protect yourself from the coronavirus.
ROME - Marta Pacholczak has been worried about getting vaccinated for months.
Originally from Poland, she has lived in Rome for 25 years, but for many Between them, Mrs. Pacholczak is homeless. She is not registered on the target Italian national health service , and without official residence or social security number, she did not have access to the country's coronavirus vaccination campaign.
But Over the weekend, she was among nearly 900 people who tried to take advantage of a nighttime vaccination campaign, called Open Night, organized by health authorities in the Lazio region, which includes Rome.
"I can't do anything without a vaccine " said Ms Pacholczak, 65, clutching her bill - # 850 - while craning her neck to hear numbers being called on Sunday morning. "I cannot work or travel at the moment.
The initiative, organized in a cloister of the Santo Spirito hospital, near of the Vatican, targeted "people on the margins of society,es more fragile, "said Angelo Tanese, director general of ASL Roma 1, the largest local health unit in the region.
To attract crowds, a jazz pianist serenaded those in attendance on Saturday evening, free express o and cornetti - the Italian croissant - were offered on Sunday morning.
Doctors and nurses administered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to homeless, undocumented migrants, foreign students and foreigners who work legally in Rome but are not registered with the National Health Service.
Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which only requires a single dose - unlike the two-shot regimens manufactured by AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech - is particularly useful for iharm people who may be harder to reach or who may not come back for a second dose. About 80% of the people at the Santo Spirito clinic were undocumented migrants , said Mr Tanese.
Santo Spirito, a hospital and one of the oldest in Europe, has seen its share of plagues, epidemics and wars, Mr. Tanese said. "This is the vocation of this hospital," he noted. Image To the Open Night player on Saturday. Santo Spirito, a 12th century hospital, has seen its share of plagues, epidemics and wars. Credit ... GiuseppeLami / EPA, via Shutterstock
Gianfranco Costanzo, director of health of the National Institute for health, migration and poverty, estimates that at least 700,000 people in Italy are not registered with the national health service, which is managed by regional governments.
" Those are serious numbers, especially in the event of a pandemic, "he said in a telephone interview. " But it 's also a question of rights, because our service health care provider ensures that everyone has the right to be vaccinated, regardless of your administrative status. "
With the variants of the coronavirus which again increase the number of cases in the world, it is essential to vaccinate as many people as possible, as manyquickly possible, said Costanzo. Several regions of Italy have started to make progress, but others have fallen behind, he added.
Antonio Mumolo, president of Avocat di Strada , an association that helps the homeless, said: "Today there is the Covid, but yesterday there was tuberculosis. The coronavirus epidemic›
"Infectious diseases have always existed", he added, "and if people are not treated", public health is in danger.
The pandemic has highlighted the constraints of the health service regions, said Dr Alessandro Verona, who works for INTERSOS , a charity that helps vulnerable people "It has created administrative chaos for people who are outside the system, " he said, especially for those who have moved between regions, such as foreign farm workers. " The world has changed, people are on the move and the marginalized need to be seen. as people to be protected.
"We need to move from the concept of a hard-to-reach population to an easy-to-reach national health system," added Dr Verona.
ASL Roma 1, who organized the vaccination campaign at the Santo Spirito hospital,also works with voluntary aid organizations to increase immunization rates among marginalized groups. re offering shots to the homeless via a motorhome that crisscrosses Rome, Mr Tanese said. Two homeless centers will open this week.
Dr. Paolo Parente, responsible for innovative models of primary health care for ASL Roma 1, said: "We felt the responsibility that part of the community was not vaccinated", adding: "Now that the national vaccination campaign is underway, it is time to start with the most vulnerable. "
Sunday, nearly 20 million people in Italy had been fully vaccinated - about 32% of the total population. Image Single injection vaccine administration Johnson & Johnson at the Santo Spirito clinic on Saturday. Credit ... Giuseppe Lami / EPA, via Shutterstock
It was a varied crowd in Santo Spirito: There had a Peruvian employee of a United Nations agency in Rome who had arrived in the city only three weeks ago; a Chinese couple pierced by their cell phones; two young people in their twenties from Kazakhstan studying in Cassino, around 90 miles south of Rome, who weren't sure about the Sputnik vaccine at home; a Rwandan woman studying business at one of Rome's main universities; and a Brazilian nursing aide who feared she might not be vaccinated thenthat the person she was caring for was.
Wearing a pink rubber bracelet that read #IAmVaccinated, Rose Marie Magada, a nun from the Philippines who moved to Italy in January, said she was delighted to receive the blow after months of uncertainty. "It's good to be protected," she said.
Laura Morettoni, a nurse in Santo Spirito who had worked all day night, said she was tired but happy to have been part of the initiative. "I think the homeless and marginalized felt welcome and taken care of," she said.
The evening Open House was advertised through the health unit's social media accounts, but many attendees said they heard about it through volunteer or acquaintance associations, such as Ms Pacholczak, who found accommodation.t at a generous friend's house.
In the end, Mrs. Pacholczak was not vaccinated. She has a heart problem, so the medical staff at Santo Spirito decided that a different vaccine would be better for her and put her on a waiting list.
Mr. Tanese, who had been up for more than 24 hours, said his unit would almost certainly repeat the vaccination initiative.
"Except at night, " he's laughing. "It 'sa bit tiring.