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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

Italian heathcare staff suspended over their refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19 can now return to work, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni confirmed on Monday.

Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

Italy become the first country in Europe to make it obligatory for healthcare workers to be vaccinated, ruling in 2021 that they must have the jab or be transferred to other roles or suspended without pay.

That obligation had been set to expire in December, but was brought forward to Tuesday due to “a shortage of medical and health personnel”, Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said.

READ ALSO: Is Italy’s government planning to scrap all Covid measures?

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, and has since registered nearly 180,000 deaths.

Schillaci first announced the plan to scrap the rule on Friday in a statement saying data showed the virus’ impact on hospitals  “is now limited”.

Those who refuse vaccination will be “reintegrated” into the workforce before the rule expires at the end of this year, as part of what the minister called a “gradual return to normality”.

Meloni said the move, which has been criticised by the centre-left as a win for anti-vax campaigners, would mean some 4,000 healthcare workers can return to work.

This includes some 1,579 doctors and dentists refusing vaccination, according to records at the end of October, representing 0.3 percent of all those registered with Italy’s National Federation of the Orders of Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists (Fnomceo) 

Meloni’s post-fascist Brothers of Italy party railed against the way Mario Draghi’s government handled the pandemic, when it was the main opposition party, and she promised to use her first cabinet meetings to mark a clear break in policies with her predecessor.