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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Italy Covid: Bullet forces immunologist to get protection


One of Italy’s premier immunology experts on coronavirus has been given police protection after she was sent a bullet inside a letter threatening her and her family.

Prof Antonella Viola was apparently targeted because of her public support for immunisation of children.

This week, public figures have faced increased threats in a number of European countries.

Several French MPs were threatened while debating a vaccine pass law.

On Wednesday night, a conspiracy theorist wielding a flaming torch and live-streaming the attack on Facebook attacked the home of Dutch political leader Sigrid Kaag.

The burning piece of wood was waved directly outside Sigrid Kaag’s front door

Colleagues have accused the Dutch far-right Forum for Democracy of inciting hatred over vaccinations and other Covid rules. The suspect was heard yelling far-right slogans.

Another political leader, Gert-Jan Segers, warned that such intimidation was a natural result of a party that advocated for tribunals or the imprisonment of political opponents.

In Italy, immunologist Prof Viola, the head of a paediatric research institute in the northern city of Padua, confirmed on Facebook that she had received a bullet and a letter threatening her or her family with being shot if she did not refuse to vaccinate children.

“These are anti-vaxxers who know only how to hate, reject logic and laws, and incite tension and violence,” she said, vowing to always give science a voice and speak to those who listened.

Italy began vaccinating children aged five to 11 last month, but the jabs are not compulsory.

  • So far Austria is the only country in Europe bringing in mandatory Covid vaccinations for children – with a law coming in next month for everyone over 14
  • Germany is planning mandatory vaccinations for adults
  • Italy will require over-50s to have the jab until June
  • Greece starts on over-60s this month and the Czech Republic in March.

“I will continue to advise parents to vaccinate their children because it is the right thing to do,” Prof Viola told the Italian news agency Ansa.

As regulations tighten, the debate over vaccinations has become more heated. After three nights in the French National Assembly, MPs approved the first reading of a bill requiring a Covid vaccination pass for much of public life early on Thursday.

President Emmanuel Macron enraged political opponents when he said he wanted to “piss off” unvaccinated people by “limiting their access to social life activities as much as possible.”

Protests have taken place in a number of German cities this week, with police using pepper spray and batons during clashes in Munich.


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