The leader of Sicily in Italy said as many as 80% of people are turning down the AstraZeneca jab

astrazeneca vaccine
A vial and syringe in front of the AstraZeneca logo.

  • Up to 80% of Sicilians are rejecting the AstraZeneca jab, the leader of the region has said.
  • Italy is using the shot, but has advised that it be avoided in younger age groups.
  • Fears, based on rare blood clots, are “understandable, but unjustified,” a top health official said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Up to 80% of people in Sicily are turning down the AstraZeneca vaccine when it is offered, the island’s leader said on Saturday.

Nello Musumeci, Sicily’s president said in a press conference on Saturday that “out of 100 people, 80 say no” to the AstraZeneca vaccine, AFP reported.

A spokesperson for Musumeci later told AFP that the figure was too extreme and that he had meant to say “up to 80%.”

In some cities, like Syracuse, the refusal rate was lower, around 30%, the spokesperson said.

Musumeci said that he understood why people would be concerned about the vaccine, but that Sicilians “have a duty to believe scientists” when they say the vaccine is safe, Giornale di Sicilia reported.

“The only solution is to immunize the Sicilian community,” he said.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) last week listed unusual blood clots with low platelets as a very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The agency said that the benefits of the shot outweigh the risks.

The Italian government has said that the AstraZeneca vaccine should be avoided by those under the age of 60, but that “anyone who wants to be vaccinated with AstraZeneca can continue to be.”

The fear about the vaccine are “understandable, but unjustified,” said government advisor Franco Locatelli on Sunday, AFP reported.

“I say that we are offering a vaccine that is safe and effective, which people must accept,” he said to the La Stampa newspaper.

“That said, if we find ourselves facing a disarming number of defections, we will reconsider the issue.”

Italy has been struggling to get its COVID-19 outbreak under control and its vaccination campaign has been criticized for being sluggish The Washington Post reported.

Unlikely other European countries, which have seen a downtick in the number of deaths, Italy’s death rate has remained high.

The country now has the seventh-highest death toll of COVID-19, with over 113,000 COVID-19 deaths as of April 11. 22% of its population is over the age of 65, which gives it the second-oldest population of any country.

Germany, France, the UK, and other countries have restricted the use of the vaccine in younger people over concerns about unusual blood clots.

Experts have told Insider that having the shot is still safe and is less risky than flying in a plane. One expert told Insider that the real risk was that vaccine skepticism would rise among those who are offered the vaccine.

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Incredible photos show the dramatic eruption of Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano

mount etna
A detail of the new eruption of the Etna volcano seen from the port of Riposto in the province of Catania, Italy, on February 18, 2021.

  • Mount Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupted on Tuesday.
  • Italian officials said there was no danger to the surrounding villages but closed a nearby airport. 
  • Scroll down to see amazing images of the volcano, which spewed smoke, ashes, and glowing lava.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Sicily’s Mount Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, spewed smoke, ashes, and lava in a new eruption earlier this week.

Although the explosion looked dramatic, Italian authorities said it posed no danger to any of the surrounding villages, and residents did not seem concerned. 

Scroll down to see spectacular images of the eruption.

Mount Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupted earlier this week.

mount etna
A close-up of Mount Etna erupting in Catania, Italy, on February 18, 2021.

At nearly 11,000 feet (3,324 meters), Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe. It is located on the east coast of Sicily, Italy.

Source: Britannica

 

The volcano first erupted on Tuesday, sending rose-colored plumes of ash into the sky…

mount etna
A view of the Mount Etna eruption spewing ash, as seen from Paterno, Italy, on February 16, 2021.

…and showering nearby villages with small stones and grey ash.

mount etna
Mount Etna leaves ash on a car in Catania, Italy, on February 16, 2021

By night time, the clouds had disappeared, but glowing lava continued to stream out of the crater.

mount etna
A detail of the new eruption of the Etna volcano seen from the port of Riposto in the province of Catania, Italy, on February 18, 2021.

Here is a closer look at the glowing river of lava running down the volcano throughout the night.

mount etna
Streams of red hot lava flow as Mount Etna leaps into action, seen from Giarre, Italy on February 16, 2021.

Hot lava continued to shoot out of the volcano’s crater.

mount etna
Mount Etna erupts in Sicily, sending plumes of ash and spewing lava into the air on February 18, 2021.

Although pictures of the event look dramatic, Italian officials told local media: “We’ve seen worse.”

mount etna
Mount Etna erupts above Catania, Italy, on February 18, 2021.

Mount Etna has erupted frequently in the past 500,000 years.

Source: Euronews

Officials also said the eruption poses no danger to surrounding villages. However, they still closed Catania’s international airport as a precaution.

mount etna
The new eruption of the Etna volcano seen from the port of Riposto in the province of Catania on February 18, 2021.

Source: The Telegraph 

Most Sicilians said they were not worried and that they’re used to the volcano erupting.

mount etna
A passer-by with an umbrella in the streets of Catania, Italy protects himself from the volcanic ash from Mount Etna on February 16, 2021.

Source: The Independent

Daniele Palumbo, who is originally from Sicily but is now living in London, said it’s “always really funny” to see how outsiders react when Etna erupts.

mount etna
A woman walks her dog in the aftermath of an impressive Mount Etna volcanic eruption in Catania, Italy, on February 17, 2021.

“I think we would be more worried if all these events didn’t happen,” Palumbo said, according to the Independent.

Source: The Independent

The volcano has since calmed down, only leaving behind ash for city workers to clean up.

mount etna
Workers clean a square in the aftermath of an impressive Mount Etna volcanic eruption in Catania, Italy, on February 17, 2021.

Source: Volcano Discovery

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