Supply is not the only thing that prevents the launch of vaccines in Europe

On Wednesday, Draghi said the region’s different approaches to vaccinating people over 80 were unacceptable, adding that some “neglect their elderly to favor groups that claim priority based on some contractual power”.

In Tuscany, a region generally admired for its health care system, only about 6% of people over the age of 80 have been fully vaccinated, which has led to a public letter from important citizens.

“Inefficiency,” they wrote, “produces deaths.”

Matteo Villa, a researcher at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies who studied the coronavirus pandemic, said Italy’s strategy of first vaccinating only health workers resulted in a bottleneck that made the virus more deadly.

“When the delays came,” he said, “we still had a lot of elderly people to vaccinate.”

Guido Bertolaso, a former head of Italy’s civil protection agency that now runs the vaccination campaign in Lombardy, said the country had not acted on an emergency basis.

He blamed pharmaceutical companies for failing to deliver on their delivery promises for Italy’s problems. “When you plan, you should know where you are going to get the vaccine, what time, what quantity, weekly,” he said. In any case, he added: “In Italy, with planning, we are not very good.”

Avoidable organizational and logistical problems delayed the launch and infuriated the Italians. In Lombardy, a rich northern region at the center of Italy’s outbreak, intensive care units are still crowded with older and dying Italians, making it an emblem of Italy’s mistakes.

“Every time the phone rings, I hope it’s them,” said Ester Bucco, 84, from Castiglione Olona, ​​in the Lombardy region, who signed up two months ago to get vaccinated but has yet to get an appointment. She walks around the house carrying her home phone and says she has started taking anxiolytic pills to deal with the situation. “I really want to see my grandchildren.”