“This poor vaccine,” said Dr. Patrick Franzoni, who spearheads the inoculation campaign in the northern region of Trentino-Alto Adige. “With this Ping-Pong of information, we risk completely boycotting it.”
In the past weeks, Dr. Franzoni said that he had helped organize open nights, complete with D.J.s, during which 22,000 younger people, who would otherwise have had to wait weeks for a shot, received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“When older people saw they had AstraZeneca on their slot they did not book the vaccine,” Dr. Franzoni said, “so we did these open nights” to use up the supply.
“And we had a great response,” he added.
Other Italian regions introduced similar initiatives. In Lazio, which includes Rome, about 200,000 people of all ages got their AstraZeneca shot during open days. And Liguria, in the northwest, offered more than 40,000 doses at similar events.
But when reports spread about an 18-year-old girl who was hospitalized with a cerebral thrombosis after attending an open day in Liguria, many canceled their appointments.
Some doctors in Italy have urged the government to stop distributing the AstraZeneca vaccine to younger people. “With a low circulation of the virus, the risks of AstraZeneca can outweigh the benefits in people below the age of 30,” Nino Cartabellotta, a prominent public health researcher, tweeted.
The Italian government is now discussing possible new and more restrictive recommendations, a spokesman for the Health Ministry said.
Christopher F. Schuetze, Monika Pronczuk and Constant Méheut contributed reporting.