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VACCINE

EXPLAINED: How can you book a Covid vaccination appointment in Italy?

As Italy prepares to get rid of priority groups and offer Covid-19 vaccinations to people of all ages, here's a guide to the options available for booking your jab.

EXPLAINED: How can you book a Covid vaccination appointment in Italy?
A vaccination hub in Milan. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

As of June 3rd, all regions of Italy are free to offer appointments to everyone over the age of 12 – though not all of them are doing so yet.

READ ALSO: Which Italian regions are offering Covid vaccine appointments to all?

To date Italy has fully vaccinated some 12.4 million people, according to the Health Ministry’s running tally.

That represents nearly 23 percent of the total population over 12, which means that around three-quarters of Italy’s residents are still waiting for one or both of their shots.

As millions more people become eligible for a jab this month, many are wondering how and when they’ll be able to book theirs. Find a guide to your options below.

Making an appointment online

Almost every region of Italy allows residents to make their vaccination appointment online. Find a list of links by region here

The exact procedure varies by region, but most booking portals ask you to enter your codice fiscale (tax code) and/or the number of a valid tessera sanitaria, the healthcare card that shows you’re enrolled in Italy’s public health system.

If you do not have a tessera sanitaria or your card has expired, you will need to book by phone or other means.

EXPLAINED: What to do if you’re told you can’t book a Covid vaccine appointment in Italy

If you are booking online, you’ll be given a list of vaccination centres and possible appointments to choose from. If you’re getting a vaccine that requires two doses, you should also be told the date of your second appointment – at the same location – when you book your first. 

Several regional health services also have their own apps that allow you to reserve: the process is usually the same as booking on a website, but via an app downloaded to your smartphone.

Making an appointment by phone

Most regions also have a vaccination helpline or numero verde (“green number”) that you can call for information, to get help booking an appointment or to reschedule one if necessary.

Find the number for your region below:

  • Abruzzo: 800 00 99 66
  • Basilicata: 800 00 99 66
  • Calabria: 800 00 99 66
  • Campania: call your local health authority (ASL) – find a list here
  • Emilia-Romagna: call your local health authority (AUSL) – find a list here
  • Friuli-Venezia Giulia: 0434 223522
  • Lazio: 06 164 161 841
  • Liguria: 800 938 883
  • Lombardy: 800 894 545
  • Marche: 800 00 99 66
  • Molise: 0874 1866000
  • Piedmont: 800 95 77 95
  • Puglia: 800 713931
  • Sardinia: 800 00 99 66
  • Sicily: 800 00 99 66
  • Autonomous province of Trento: 800 867 388
  • Autonomous province of Bolzano: 0472 973850 or 0471 100999
  • Tuscany: 800 11 77 44
  • Umbria: 800 192 835
  • Valle D’Aosta: 0165 546222
  • Veneto: 800 462 340

If you do not have all the paperwork you need to book online – for instance a valid tessera sanitaria – calling your region’s helpline may be your best chance of explaining your situation and booking a jab. Ignore the automated options and try to speak to an operator if possible.

Making an appointment with your doctor

Several regions have authorised medici di base – GPs or family doctors – to carry out vaccinations in their own practices, including Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Tuscany and Veneto. 

This option may be restricted to certain age groups or high-risk categories: check your regional health service’s website, or contact your doctor directly. 

Doses are also limited, so you may find you face a longer wait than if you opt to go to a large vaccination hub.

Vaccinating elderly residents at home in Rome. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

Making an appointment in a pharmacy

Some regions, including Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Puglia and Umbria, allow pharmacists to help you book an appointment at a vaccination centre. Ask your local pharmacy for details. 

Meanwhile Calabria, Campania, Lazio, Liguria, Marche, Piedmont, Tuscany, Umbria, Valle D’Aosta and Veneto are among the regions that have given the go-ahead for vaccinations to be administered in pharmacies themselves. 

In some cases you cannot make an appointment directly at the pharmacy, but select it as a location when booking online or over the phone. You may then be called by the pharmacist to fix a time.

Making an appointment via the Post Office

The regions of Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Lombardy, Marche, Sardinia and Sicily share a booking system developed by the Italian postal service, which offers additional ways to make an appointment without using the internet or a call centre. 

If you live in one of these regions you can book:

  • At a Poste Italiane ATM: press 6 on one of the Post Office’s ATMs and insert your tessera sanitaria. You’ll be asked to enter your post code and mobile phone number, then select an appointment from the list. You’ll be sent a code by SMS that you should enter to confirm your choice. You can then print out a slip with the details of your appointment. Find step-by-step instructions here
  • Via your postman or postwoman: ask your Poste Italiane mail carrier to book an appointment on your behalf. They will enter your post code, phone number and codice fiscale into their mobile device and give you a list of appointments to choose from. They’ll then print you a receipt with the details. Find detailed instructions here.

These services are not available in other regions of Italy.

Getting vaccinated through your employer

Italy has authorised employers to organise vaccinations for their staff, with the first companies starting this week.

Firms can either arrange appointments on behalf of employees or get medics to administer jabs directly in the workplace. So far more than 7,000 companies have volunteered their premises for use as vaccination centres, according to Italian employers’ association Confindustria, while several of Italy’s biggest companies – including Tim, Leonardo, Enel and Burger King – have already started the scheme.

Companies in sectors considered high-risk, such as the food industry, transport and tourism, are being urged to participate, with support available for small and medium businesses that don’t have the resources to carry out vaccinations on site. Ask your manager if it’s a possibility where you work.

Getting vaccinated at the Castello di Rivoli art museum near Turin. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

“Open days” and other options

Several regions are organising local vaccination drives, known as “open days”, to offer unused doses to younger age groups before they would otherwise be eligible. In most cases the vaccine available is AstraZeneca. 

Check your regional health service’s website for details: depending on where you are, you may need to make an appointment first or simply show up at a vaccination hub between certain hours. 

READ ALSO:

You should also check the website of your local health authority (known as an ASL, USL or AUSL) for any other ways to book a vaccine. Some authorities invite people who are struggling to make an appointment – including people without a tessera sanitaria – to email or call the ASL directly.

Find a list of local health authorities by region here

For the moment vaccination in Italy remains by appointment only, and you are not likely to get a jab by turning up at a centre without a reservation.

It is expected to become easier over the coming months as more of the population gets vaccinated and doses are restocked, with vaccines eventually available on a walk-in basis.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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