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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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COVID-19

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

As the infection rate rises sharply across the country, Italian virologists are calling for concerts and festivals to be rescheduled.

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

Italy has seen a large increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, so much so that a number of virologists across the country are now urging the government to postpone major live events in a bid to curb infections. 

According to a new report by Italy’s independent health watchdog, the Gimbe Foundation, 595,349 new cases were recorded in the week from June 29th to July 5th; a worrying 55 percent increase on the previous week. 

In the same time span, the country also registered a 32.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalised patients, which went from 6,035 to 8,003.  

The latest Covid wave, which is being driven by the highly contagious Omicron 5 variant, is a “real cause for concern”, especially in terms of a “potential patient overload”, said Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation. 

As Italian cities prepare to host a packed calendar of concerts and festivals this summer, health experts are questioning whether such events should actually take place given the high risk of transmission associated with mass gatherings.

READ ALSO: What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

“Rescheduling these types of events would be the best thing to do right now,” said Massimo Ciccozzi, Director of Epidemiology at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. 

The summer wave is expected to peak in mid-July but, Ciccozzi warns, the upcoming live events might “delay [the peak] until the end of July or even beyond” and extend the infection curve.

Antonello Maruotti, Professor of Statistics at LUMSA University of Rome, recently shared Ciccozzi’s concerns, saying that live events as big as Maneskin’s scheduled Rome concert are “definitely not a good idea”. 

The Italian rock band are slated to perform at the Circus Maximus on Saturday, July 9th but the expected turnout – over 70,000 fans are set to attend the event – has raised objections from an array of Italian doctors, with some warning that the concert might cause as many as 20,000 new cases.

If it were to materialise, the prospected scenario would significantly aggravate Lazio’s present medical predicament as there are currently over 186,000 Covid cases in the region (nearly 800 patients are receiving treatment in local hospitals). 

Italian rock band Maneskin performing in Turin

Italian rock band Maneskin are expected to perform at the Circus Maximus in Rome on Saturday, July 9th. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

But, despite pleas to postpone the event, it is likely that Maneskin’s concert will take place as scheduled.

Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Tourism Councillor, said that rescheduling is “out of question” and that “all recommendations from the local medical authorities will be adopted” with the help of the event’s organisers and staff on the ground.

At the time of writing, there is also no indication that the Italian government will consider postponing other major live events scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, though the situation is evolving rapidly and a U-turn on previous dispositions can’t be ruled out.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

On this note, it is worth mentioning that Italy has now scrapped all of its former Covid measures except the requirement to wear FFP2 face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings.

The use of face coverings is, however, still recommended in all crowded areas, including outdoors – exactly the point that leading Italian doctors are stressing in the hope that live events will not lead to large-scale infection.

Antonio Magi, President of Rome’s OMCEO (College of Doctors, Surgeons and Dentists), said: “Our advice is to wear FFP2 masks […] in high-risk situations.”

“I hope that young people will heed our recommendations and think about the health risks that their parents or grandparents might be exposed to after the event [they attend].”

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