Anti-Covid 19 vaccination of migrants hosted by Progetto Arca, Milan, June 7, 2021 | Photo: ANSA/PAOLO SALMOIRAGO
Anti-Covid 19 vaccination of migrants hosted by Progetto Arca, Milan, June 7, 2021 | Photo: ANSA/PAOLO SALMOIRAGO

The Roman chapter of Catholic charity Caritas has reported "a disproportionate impact on the health of immigrants" of the Covid pandemic in Italy, denouncing a risk of "invisibility" regarding the vaccination campaign.

Over the past months the Catholic charity Caritas in Rome has registered a disproportionate impact of the Covid pandemic on immigrants, denouncing the risk that they might remain "invisible" for the vaccination campaign, according to a report published on July 16.

The report -- called "Health and social fragility during the pandemic: a point of view" -- said problematic issues reported in Italy during the pandemic concerned the foreign population.

"A disproportionate impact on the health of immigrants was registered, with a higher risk of death in patients coming from countries with a low Human Development Index (HDI) and a delay in the diagnosis (15-30 days)," as well as a high risk of "invisibility" for immunizations.

The importance of a public healthcare service

"The pandemic has brought to light a collective sense of inadequacy, perhaps an absence, certainly a need for protection, and has stressed the importance of having a healthcare service that is markedly public, homogeneously present on the national territory, and able to safeguard everybody's health, above specific interests," Caritas Roma highlighted.

The charity explained that enterprises managing hosting centers had the responsibility of implementing measures to prevent and contain the spread of the virus, without indications from institutions.

Immunizations for the 'invisible'

Caritas denounced a high risk of "invisibility" in a context in which, starting in June 2021, some regions have been vaccinating in an inhomogeneous and irregular way.

The report, in particular, said people who risk remaining on the sidelines or to be excluded by the system are:

  • 500,000 immigrants without a stay permit who can have the STP code to access medical services;
  • an additional tens of thousands of EU citizens who are irregularly residing in the country -- whose number is very difficult to quantify -- who can apply for an ENI card to get health benefits;
  • 200,000 foreigners who have requested a regular stay permit and have not received a reply yet and are in an "administrative limbo".
  • Caritas said there are also over 500,000 homeless people, including many who are not in contact with volunteer organizations.
 

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