Immunologist Antonella Viola received a bullet and a typewritten letter from extremists for backing Covid-19 vaccination for children at her office in Italy’s Padua earlier this week, news agencies reported.
“I confirm that I have received an envelope containing a threatening letter and a bullet. I am instructed to say that children must not be vaccinated or they will shoot me or my family,” Dr Viola said in a Facebook post earlier on Thursday.
“I feel a very strong bitterness because after two very tiring years if this is the result, it is really very sad,” the immunologist was quoted as saying by Italian news agency Corriere Della Sera. According to a report by the news agency, Viola’s personal security has been enhanced as two carabinieri – a member of the Italian police – were appointed to ensure there was no threat to her life.
“Think of the neurotoxic and cardiotoxic effects. If you don’t change your interviews and stop saying that children should be vaccinated, we will be happy to hit you and your family. Don’t worry, no one will die, but two .22 caliber bullets in the stomach and knees don’t kill, they just hurt a lot,” read the letter according to the news report.
Dr Viola, however, remained unfazed at the face of danger, as she remained when Italy was ravaged when the first wave of coronavirus hit the nation, killing thousands and bringing its healthcare system to its knees.
“I will continue to advise parents to vaccinate their children because that’s right,” Dr Viola told news agencies. She also said anti-vaxxers know only how to spread violence, fear and reject logic.
Italy has not made vaccines mandatory for children but began vaccinations for children in the 5-11 years age group from December 2021 onwards, according to a report by the BBC.
Not only Dr Viola, but other notable personalities have also come under fire as anti-vaxxers – who deny the need and question the Covid-19 vaccines – protest vaccine mandates across Europe, the UK, the US and Australia. Dutch finance minister Sigrid Kaag also saw a protest by a conspiracy theorist outside her home who waved a flaming torch and livestreamed it on Facebook.