Over half of Italy is now fully vaccinated against Covid-19

Italy has fully vaccinated more than half its population over 12, putting it on track to reach its target of achieving herd immunity against Covid-19 by the end of September.

Over half of Italy is now fully vaccinated against Covid-19
A vaccination hub at Termini train station in Rome. Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

Over 27.1 million people had been fully vaccinated by July 19th, according to the government’s official tally, the equivalent of 50.2 percent of the total population aged 12 and up.

Italy administered between 3.7 million and 3.9 million shots in each of the past six weeks, taking the total number of jabs so far to 61.5 million.

The country’s goal is to vaccinate 80 percent of over-12s by the end of September, or some 54.3 million people.

The vast majority of the shots currently being administered are second doses, which means that progress has slowed reaching people who have not yet had a single injection. 

That may change if the Italian government expands the use of its Covid-19 health pass, as it is expected to do this week. 

The change could make showing a digital ‘green pass’ compulsory to access domestic flight, long-distance trains, nightclubs, gyms, sports stadiums and even possible indoor seating in restaurants. 

READ ALSO: Italy set to announce expanded ‘green pass’ scheme this week

While the certificate is also available to anyone who has tested negative for coronavirus in the past 48 hours or recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months, getting vaccinated is the easiest way to access a pass that won’t quickly expire. Italy currently makes its pass available 15 days after the first dose of a vaccine, even if a second is required.

Italian health authorities have said that extending the health pass scheme could be a useful way to give unvaccinated people an extra incentive to book a jab, though the main purpose is thought to be avoiding reinstating blanket restrictions during the peak summer holiday season.

According to the government’s latest weekly report, around 7 percent of Italy’s over-80s still have not had even one shot, rising to 12 percent for people in their 70s, 18 percent for 60 to 69-year-olds, and 26 percent of people in their 50s.

While vaccination is compulsory for healthcare workers, at least 2 percent have not had either dose. Nor have 15 percent of people working in schools, prompting some health experts to call for vaccination to also be made mandatory for teachers.

Italy’s goal is to “vaccinate all Italians who want it with the first dose by the end of the summer”, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said in June.

Find more information about booking a vaccination here, including how to book without a health card

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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.