Ilario Avena is 26 years old, lives and works in Naples and is part of that small army of courageous volunteers who at the beginning of 2021 took part in the experimentation of the ReiThera vaccine, developed by the Lazio company. Among them also the former mayor of Trieste and governor of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region Riccardo Illy with his wife Rossana Bettini and the writer Gianrico Carofiglio.
The experimentation started with the great enthusiasm of everyone, including institutions, to counter the pandemic wave of Covid-19 that is raging in our country and in the world. Italy, which in recent years has shown the great abilities of local researchers in the scientific panorama, tried to have its own vaccine, also benefiting the costs for the purchases of foreign ones. However, things did not go as hoped and the lack of funds stopped research on a promising vaccine.
In addition to the interruption of an important trial, what happened is that all the volunteers were left in a sort of bureaucratic limbo for which, despite having received the vaccine, they cannot obtain the Green Pass because ReiThera is not officially included in immunoprophylaxis. recognized.
Ilario tells a TPI of the inconvenience he is experiencing on the eve of the introduction of the mandatory Green Pass scheduled for August 6th. Discomfort that was also brought to parliamentary attention through a question signed by numerous doctors from all over Italy: “Volunteers who have been vaccinated are in a condition in which further vaccination is neither indicated nor necessary, therefore, if not included in the vaccination register they will never be able to obtain a ‘green’ vaccination card “.
“At the beginning of March the experiments began at the Cotugno in Naples”, explains Ilario. “At the time there was no talk of the Green Pass or the possibility of getting vaccinated. I’m 26 and expected my vaccine for the winter. Then I was offered this experiment and so I immediately accepted thinking about an Italian vaccine, I was very happy. I felt privileged, with the possibility of being able to make a contribution as a citizen. I got vaccinated on March 31st.
Did they ask for a particular protocol?
I did all the tests in the hospital, since I am a trans person I had to declare the hormone therapy I follow, we had no expenses, we were monitored by the hospital. When I was given the administration I didn’t know what they were going to do to me because we were about 80 people: one group would receive placebo, another a single dose, and yet another a double dose. The goal was to get the vaccine approved with a single dose.
How many antibodies do you have now?
I have a very high level of protection (512 BAU / ml), today I have the same antibodies as in March, this excludes me from the possibility of receiving another vaccine, the paradox is that I cannot have the Green Pass. When I accepted this trial we volunteers knew that the vaccine would not be approved before the summer.
And what happened then?
The third phase was supposed to begin in June but the research was blocked by the state, they say due to lack of funds. With the doctors we said goodbye in a quiet way, and in any case I will have to return in September to check the antibodies and resume with the experimentation. I am under the responsibility of the hospital from March to the next two years. We are followed from a medical point of view. But the problem arises with the Green Pass.
You can’t currently have it.
The thing that angers me is that even those who have had Covid can have the Green Pass and I, who have such high antibodies, cannot. I say more, today I am considered the same as no vax. A colleague of mine is a no vax but has the Green Pass because she has had Covid, so she is likely to have fewer antibodies than me but has the Green Pass. You can continue to travel, go indoors and work, while I risk losing my job because I don’t have a green passport.
What work do you do?
I work in a pastry shop, so even my superiors don’t know what they will have to do with me. We will have an electronic device where to present the Green Pass. But they don’t know what to do with me. Who should I take it with? It’s absurd, I probably have more antibodies today than those who got vaccinated with Pfizer in January.