The paper examines the introduction of mandatory vaccination and severe limitations in the practice of health workers, starting from the moral panic created around them during the global pandemic. Their vaccine hesitancy has raised a wave of social anxiety fostered by the media. The latter have turned this group into a potential threat to national health – and by doing so, they have overlooked decades of budget cuts that have made our national health system unable to react to the pandemic efficiently. Italy has been the first country in Europe to make vaccination against Covid-19 mandatory for healthcare workers. For this reason, the law deserves closer scrutiny and careful assessment of its social effects. Drawing upon classic studies on moral panic (S. Cohen, 1971 – S. Hall et al., 1978) and recent contributions on 16 moral regulation, (unhealthy) risk society and discourse analysis, I will provide a summary of the events that have generated concern about medical workers and raised the ghoul of the “no vax”. Then, I will illustrate the key features of the DL 44/2021 and the disciplinary measures introduced against unvaccinated health professionals. I will focus mainly on the text of the decree-law and its conversion into law, starting from the parliamentary report that accompanied it, and then move briefly on to the subsequent decrees that have introduced additional obligations. Finally, I will briefly consider the implicit healthcare model underpinning this government decision: we are moving towards a punitive healthcare culture that will integrate the present culture of control with a specific new focus on non-conformist health behaviours.

L’OBBLIGO DI ESSERE SANI. DEMONI E CULTURA DEL CONTROLLO SANITARIO

Gabriella Petti
2022-01-01

Abstract

The paper examines the introduction of mandatory vaccination and severe limitations in the practice of health workers, starting from the moral panic created around them during the global pandemic. Their vaccine hesitancy has raised a wave of social anxiety fostered by the media. The latter have turned this group into a potential threat to national health – and by doing so, they have overlooked decades of budget cuts that have made our national health system unable to react to the pandemic efficiently. Italy has been the first country in Europe to make vaccination against Covid-19 mandatory for healthcare workers. For this reason, the law deserves closer scrutiny and careful assessment of its social effects. Drawing upon classic studies on moral panic (S. Cohen, 1971 – S. Hall et al., 1978) and recent contributions on 16 moral regulation, (unhealthy) risk society and discourse analysis, I will provide a summary of the events that have generated concern about medical workers and raised the ghoul of the “no vax”. Then, I will illustrate the key features of the DL 44/2021 and the disciplinary measures introduced against unvaccinated health professionals. I will focus mainly on the text of the decree-law and its conversion into law, starting from the parliamentary report that accompanied it, and then move briefly on to the subsequent decrees that have introduced additional obligations. Finally, I will briefly consider the implicit healthcare model underpinning this government decision: we are moving towards a punitive healthcare culture that will integrate the present culture of control with a specific new focus on non-conformist health behaviours.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1105780
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