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Italy’s vaccine supply short by nearly 30 percent, data shows

Italy's coronavirus vaccine plan is missing its targets as the country has received almost 30 percent fewer doses than expected, government data showed on Thursday.

Italy's vaccine supply short by nearly 30 percent, data shows
Empty doses of the Covid-19 vaccine at a hospital in Turin. Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP

The government had said in a document published on March 13th that it counted on procuring 15.7 million vaccine doses by the end of the first quarter of 2021.

But only 11.25 million vaccine doses arrived, a gap of around 28 percent, a government website indicated.

READ ALSO: Europe’s slow vaccine rollout is ‘prolonging the pandemic’ as infections surge

Most of the shortfall was due to AstraZeneca, which supplied Italy with 2.75 million doses rather than the expected 5.35 million. Moderna supplies were also behind schedule.

The Italian government set a goal of administering at least 300,000 doses per day before the end of March, but this has proved equally unattainable.

On March 31st, around 251,000 people got a jab, but the seven-day average for daily inoculations is 233,749, according to business daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

Italy is one of the countries worst-hit by the coronavirus, with the official death toll approaching 110,000. Beating the pandemic, and reversing the recession it has triggered, is priority number one for Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who took office in February. 

But several regional politicians warned that they are close to halting inoculations due to severe supply shortages.

Alessio D’Amato, health commissioner for Lazio, the region including Rome, said he was missing 122,000 AstraZeneca doses. “If [they] do not arrive in the next 24 hours, we will unfortunately be forced to suspend vaccinations,” D’Amato said on Thursday.

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Health Minister Roberto Speranza and the government’s coronavirus commissioner, General Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, insisted there was no such risk. Figliuolo said 500,000 Moderna doses were being distributed nationwide on Thursday, and 1.3 million AstraZeneca jabs were expected to arrive by Friday.

Deliveries of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires just one shot for full effectiveness, are due to begin in mid-April.

Italy has so far fully vaccinated just under 3.2 million people, little more than 5 percent of the total population of 60 million. Around 11 percent of the population has had at least one dose.

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COVID-19

Reader Question: What are Italy’s Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Italy's quarantine rules have changed so many times over the past couple of years, it can be hard to keep track. Here's the latest information on when and how visitors need to self-isolate.

Reader Question: What are Italy's Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Question: “One of your recent articles says you can exit quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. But you can also exit quarantine by obtaining a Letter of Recovery from Covid-19… true?”

Unfortunately, official proof of having recovered from Covid-19 won’t get you out of the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while visiting Italy – though it can shorten your quarantine period.

Anyone who tests positive in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days: that’s if the person in question is fully vaccinated and boosted, or has completed their primary vaccination cycle or recovered from Covid less than 120 days ago.

That period is extended to 10 days for those who aren’t fully vaccinated and boosted, or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

READ ALSO: Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days in order to exit quarantine (with the exception of symptoms relating to a lost sense of taste or smell, which can persist for some time after the infection is over).

The patient must also test negative for the virus via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test on the final day of the quarantine in order to be allowed out.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days, at which point they will be automatically released.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative in order to enter its borders, as long as they are fully boosted or were recently vaccinated/ have recently recovered from Covid.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

Some countries (including the US), however, do require people travelling from Italy to test negative before their departure – which means visitors at the tail end of their journey could be hit with the unpleasant surprise of finding out they need to quarantine for another week in Italy instead of heading home as planned.

It’s because of this rule that a number of The Local’s readers told us they wouldn’t be coming on holiday to Italy this summer, and intend to postpone for another year.

If you are planning on visiting Italy from a country that requires you to test negative for Covid prior to re-entry, it’s a good idea to consider what you would do and where you would go in the unlikely event you unexpectedly test positive.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.

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