Covid-19: Italy to begin vaccinating health workers on December 27th
The first person to get the vaccine in Italy will be a nurse, Rome's Spallanzani infectious diseases hospital has announced.
Published: 22 December 2020 14:51 CET
Five staff at the Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome will be the first to be vaccinated in Italy. Photo: AFP
The unnamed nurse will be one of five people to get the jab on Sunday as Italy begins its vaccination programme, news agency Ansa reports.
“On Sunday 27th December, V-Day, the first five anti-COVID vaccines will be administered to as many employees of the Institute, precisely: a nurse, an operator socio-sanitary (OSS), a researcher and two doctors,” stated management at the Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases on Tuesday.
The nurse and the two doctors will then work on administering vaccines to colleagues.
European countries are eager to speedily begin vaccinating their populations in an attempt to prevent the virus from getting out of control once again, following the recent discovery of the new Covid-19 strain in the UK that health experts have said could be up to 70 percent more contagious.
However Italian health officials have insisted the vaccine will work on this and other new strains of cornavirus.
Italy, which will get its vaccines via the EU's procurement programme, had last week announced it would begin its vaccination programme in January.
Authorities stressed that vaccines against the disease caused by the novel coronavirus would not be immediately distributed to the general population, but would be rolled out first to high-risk groups including medical staff and the elderly.
Living in Italy: Five tips to help you survive the local pharmacy
From ear piercings to flu jabs, Italian ‘farmacie’ are among the most useful stores in the country, but they’re also very odd places. Here are our tips on getting through the pharmacy experience.
Published: 20 January 2023 16:48 CET
Italian pharmacies aren’t just stores selling prescription or over-the-counter medicines.
As a customer, you’ll find all sorts of natural remedies, basic health supplies and personal care items on their shelves.
You’ll also be able to receive basic medical services (for instance, blood pressure checks, Covid tests and flu jabs) and some non-health-related ones (like getting your ears pierced!) in most branches.
But, while being extremely useful stores, Italian farmacie (pronunciation available here) are also peculiar places and their set of unwritten rules and solidified traditions may well throw off newcomers..
So here are five tips that might help you complete your first expeditions to your local pharmacy without making a fool of yourself.
1 – Decipher your doctor’s scribbles before your trip
Much like some of their foreign colleagues, Italian GPs have a penchant for writing prescriptions that no one else is actually able to read.
We might never find out why doctors seem so intent on making ancient hieroglyphs fashionable again, but their calligraphic efforts will surely get in the way of you trying to buy whatever medicine you need to survive.
To avoid hiccups, make sure you know exactly what you need to get. If in doubt, reach out to your GP to confirm.
Don’t rely on pharmacists being able to figure out your doctor’s handwriting because they often have no clue either.
As for small towns or villages, opening times will have a nice Middle Ages vibe to them, with local stores remaining shut on weekends and keeping their doors open from 9am to 12.30pm and then from 3.30pm to 7.30pm on weekdays.
So always check your local pharmacy’s hours before leaving home and, should their times not be available online, call them up. An awkward phone conversation with the pharmacist is still preferable to a wasted trip.
3 – Get the ‘numerino’
Some Italian pharmacies have a ticket-dispensing machine with the aim of regulating the queue – a concept which is still foreign to many across the country.
All customers are expected to get a numbered paper ticket (the famed ‘numerino’) from the above machine and wait for their number to be called to walk up to the pharmacist’s desk.
Now, the law of the land categorically prohibits customers from getting within a five-metre radius of the desk without a numerino.
Also, trying to break that rule may result in a number of disdainful sideways glances from local customers.
4 – You cannot escape the in-store conversations, so embrace them
Pharmacies aren’t just stores. They’re a cornerstone of Italian life and locals do a good deal of socialising on the premises.
After all, the waiting times are often a bit dispiriting, so how can you blame them for killing the time?
Pharmacies are an essential part of Italian life and culture. Photo by Marco SABADIN / AFP
You might think that locals won’t want to talk to you because you’re a foreigner or don’t know the language too well, but you’ll marvel at how chatty some are.
While chit-chat might not be your cup of tea, talking with locals might help you improve your Italian, so it’s worth a shot.
5 – “Vuoi scaricarlo?”
The pharmacist finally gets you what you need and you’re now thinking that your mission is over. Well, not yet.
Before charging you for the items in question, the pharmacist will ask you whether you’d like to ‘scaricarli’ (literally, ‘offload them’) or not, which, no matter how good your Italian is, will not make any sense to you.
What the pharmacist is actually asking you is whether you want to link the purchase to your codice fiscale (tax code).
That’s because Italy offers residents a 19-percent discount on some health-related expenses, which can be claimed through one’s annual income declaration (dichiarazione dei redditi) by attaching the receipts of all the eligible payments.
Whether you want to scaricare or not, this is the last obstacle before you can make your way back home.
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