Due to the growing spread of the Delta variant, the infection rate in Italy is rising after 15 weeks of falling figures, according to the latest weekly monitoring report by the Higher Health Institute (ISS).
However, most of the country’s new coronavirus infections can be attributed to those who are unvaccinated or have only had the first dose, said the ISS.
With far fewer cases reported in fully vaccinated people, “the differences observed suggest that vaccines are effective in reducing the risk of infection, hospitalisation, ICU entry and death”, it said.
The institute estimated that full vaccination is about 80 percent effective in protecting against infection and up to 100 percent effective against the most serious consequences of the disease in all age groups.
But there’s still a considerable number of people in Italy who are unvaccinated or yet to receive their first dose.
Just over 44 percent of the Italian population over 12 years old have now been fully vaccinated, according to the latest government figures.
That leaves more than half of the population still vulnerable to infection.
And some of the most fragile are still waiting for their jab: 7.4 percent of Italy’s elderly population, the over-80s, haven’t been vaccinated or haven’t yet received their first dose.
In this age group, 35 percent of diagnoses, 59 percent of hospitalisations, 78 percent of admissions to intensive care and 70 percent of deaths are related to people who have not received a single vaccine shot, according to the ISS.
In the 70-79 age group, some 12.6 percent are yet to receive their first dose or full single shot. This increases to 18.7 percent for the 60-69 year-olds.
Just 2.19 percent of Italy’s healthcare workers are still unvaccinated, after the government made vaccination compulsory for health professionals in contact with patients.
The percentage of school personnel yet to receive their first dose is 15.25 percent – a figure that backs health experts’ recommendations to maintain coronavirus measures in schools ahead of classes resuming in September.
The government’s advisory panel of scientific experts, the CTS, said last week that “the measures to be applied for the beginning of the school year 2021-2022 should be the same as those foreseen at the beginning of the previous school year”.
Just 6.37 percent of 12-19 year-olds have been fully vaccinated and 23.5 percent have received their first dose, but experts said it was “currently not possible to predict” how many pupils will have been vaccinated by September.
Some 47.5 percent of 20-29 year-olds have received their first dose, followed by 49.35 percent of 30-39 year-olds, 58.8 percent of 40-49 year-olds and 67.7 percent of the 50-59 age bracket.
Compared to the rest of Europe, Italy’s share of people who have received at least their first jab ranks above average.
In terms of getting infected after receiving both shots – or the single dose in the case of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – the complete cycle of vaccination has an efficacy between 79.8 percent and 81.5 percent depending on the age group, the ISS report found.
The vaccination most administered in Italy is Pfizer/BioNTech followed by AstraZeneca, Moderna and lastly Johnson & Johnson.
The average age of Covid-19 patients also fell, as older age groups were prioritised for their shots first. The average age of people admitted to hospital for the first time fell to 52 years old and the age of patients admitted into intensive care dropped to 63.
Italy continues to administer around half a million vaccine doses daily.