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Italian healthcare workers take government to court over mandatory Covid vaccinations

Three hundred healthcare workers in Italy have lodged a legal challenge against the requirement that they get vaccinated against coronavirus.

Italian healthcare workers take government to court over mandatory Covid vaccinations
A woman is vaccinated on the island of Lampedusa in May. Credit: ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP

The case, brought by professionals throughout northern Italy, will be heard on July 14th, Italian media reports.

“This isn’t a battle by anti-vaxxers but a democratic battle,” constitutional lawyer Daniele Granara, who helped build up the case, was cited as saying in the Giornale di Brescia newspaper.

READ ALSO: Italy passes 50 million vaccinations milestone

“We force people to take a risk under threat of no longer being allowed to exercise their profession,” he added.

Granara is also defending dozens of caregivers who have been suspended from work for refusing to be vaccinated.

Italy passed a law in April obliging anyone working in public or private social health positions, including in pharmacies and doctors’ offices, to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or be suspended without pay, unless their employer can reassign them to a less sensitive position.

After the elderly and vulnerable, caregivers including teachers were the first to be vaccinated in Italy.

READ ALSO: Italian health experts warn about Delta variant as vaccine progress slows

A total of 52.7 million vaccine does have been administered throughout the country, and around 19.5 million Italians are now fully vaccinated, 36 percent of the population over 12 years of age.

According to recent official figures, 45,750 of the 1.9 million salaried healthcare workers have not yet received a single vaccine dose.

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Covid vaccines halved Italy’s death toll, study finds

Italy's Covid-19 vaccination campaign prevented some 150,000 deaths, slashing the country's death toll by almost half, the national health institute (ISS) said on Wednesday.

Covid vaccines halved Italy's death toll, study finds

Vaccines also prevented eight million cases of Covid-19, over 500,000 hospitalisations, and more than 55,000 admissions to intensive care, the ISS said in a press release announcing the publication of its report.

The report covers the period between December 27th, 2020, when the vaccination campaign began, and January 31st of this year, using a methodology initially developed for flu vaccines.

It said 72 percent of deaths avoided from the disease were among over-80s, 19 percent in the 70-79 range, 7 percent in the 60-69 range and 3 percent under 60.

Italy has been one of the countries worst affected by the  pandemic, with more than 160,000 deaths reported since February 2020, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain.

To date, almost 90 percent of the population over the age of 12 has been fully vaccinated, as well as just over 34 percent of children aged five to eleven.

Italy on Tuesday began offering a fourth dose of an anti-Covid 19 vaccine to those deemed at highest risk from the disease, including over-80s and care home residents.

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