“From June 3rd. all regions and provinces will be given the opportunity to open up to all classes following the national plan,” Italy’s Covid-19 emergency commissioner Francesco Figliuolo stated on Friday during a visit to a vaccination centre in Umbria.
The move is expected to be confirmed in a circular to be released on Friday afternoon.
Figliuolo said the vaccination campaign will also soon be extended to 12-to-15-year-olds, with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) expected to approve jabs for younger adolescents later on Friday and Italy’s regulator to follow suit by “Monday at the latest”.
He added that there would be some 20 million vaccine doses available in June.
So far, Italy has made vaccination appointments available to people based on age and vulnerability, prioritizing older age groups and those considered at high risk because of medical conditions.
Italy’s vaccination campaign is managed by local health authorities, and though they will have the green light to allow all age groups to book appointments from Thursday, June 3rd, rules vary significantly from one part of the country to another.
While most regions of Italy are currently still vaccinating older adults and others most at risk, some regional health authorities have already opened reservations to over-30s, high schoolers about to graduate, or even everyone over 18.
Most regions have now opened up bookings to people over 40 – though many people have reported waiting times of several weeks or a month for an appointment.
The past month has seen Italy’s vaccination campaign pick up considerable speed, with more than 3 million doses injected in each of the past three weeks.
Over 11 million people, around 18 percent of the population, are fully vaccinated so far, while around the same percentage again have had their first dose, official data shows.
While welcoming the recent acceleration, Figliuolo cautioned this week that regions should continue to focus on high-risk groups: “We mustn’t ease off vulnerable categories and the elderly, who we will finish [vaccinating] at the end of June,” he said.
While he added that health authorities may need to do more to get vulnerable people to attend vaccination appointments, the government has not stated whether it will take steps to remove bureaucratic barriers that have prevented many eligible foreign residents from being vaccinated in Italy.
Many of The Local’s readers who do not have an Italian national health card (tessera sanitaria) have been unable to register for an appointment using online booking systems.
Anyone facing this problem is advised to contact their local health authority (ASL) or call their regional vaccination hotline, rather than trying to register online, and to look into enrolling in Italy’s public health system (find a guide here).