Covid-19: Italy says whole population will be vaccinated by end of September

Italy will receive another one million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in August, bringing forward the vaccination campaign to full completion by the end of September, the government has announced

Covid-19: Italy says whole population will be vaccinated by end of September
(Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

Following a discussion between Prime Minister Mario Draghi and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, Italy is due to receive the extra batch of vaccines by the second week of August.

The meeting was “fruitful”, according to the government and the additional doses will see Italy complete its vaccination campaign by the end of September, reported news agency Ansa.

The new projection surpasses the emergency commissioner General Francesco Figliuolo’s previous target of vaccinating 80 percent of the population within this timeframe.

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen (L) and Italy’s Prime Minister, Mario Draghi. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

The vaccination rollout is picking up pace again following Italy’s announcement to extend the ‘green pass‘ to most public spaces in Italy.

From August, it will be necessary to show proof of vaccination, having tested negative for Covid-19 within the previous 48 hours or having recovered from the virus within the last six months to be able to access many public venues across Italy, including museums, cinemas and indoor seating at restaurants and bars.

UPDATE: Italy makes Covid ‘green pass’ mandatory for restaurants, gyms, cinemas and more

But with Italy entering a fourth wave of Covid-19 driven by the rising Delta variant, the news should not be taken as a signal to lower our guard, according to health minister Roberto Speranza.

At a meeting with the Medical Profession Alliance, he said, “It is clear that the variations, including Delta, put us in a delicate position that force us to be very cautious,” according to reports.

“Anyone who compares this moment to previous phases is making a mistake – there is a big difference,” he added.

He pointed out that even though over 67 million doses have been administered and 65 percent of the population has had the first dose, “we still need to keep a level of maximum attention, caution and prudence,” stated the health minister.

The caution comes as Italy’s Higher Health Institute  (ISS) revealed that 99 percent of Covid-related deaths from February this year were among the unvaccinated.

More than 58 percent of the Italian population over 12 years old are now vaccinated, according to the latest government figures, making up some 31.4 million people.

With two days left in July, the statistics are in line with Figliuolo’s prediction that 60 percent of the population would be vaccinated by the end of the month.

A further boost has come from the Scientific Technical Committee’s (CTS) approval of the Spikevax (Moderna) vaccine for 12 – 17 year-olds, in accordance with European Medicines Agency recommendations that it’s safe and effective for this age group.

According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health, 5,696 people have tested positive for Covid in the last 24 hours, up from 4,552 the day before.

There were 15 deaths on Wednesday, down from 24 the day before, while the positivity rate is 2.3 percent, up from 1.9 percent.

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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.