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Covid-19: Italy to vaccinate 12-18 year olds without appointments

Young people between 12 and 18 years old will soon be able to get their vaccine doses without booking, according to the latest directive from Italy's coronavirus emergency commissioner.

Covid-19: Italy to vaccinate 12-18 year olds without appointments
Photo by NORBERTO DUARTE / AFP

From August 16th, this age group will be given priority to get immunised “even without prior booking”, as stated in a letter from commissioner Francesco Figliuolo. to Italy’s regions, according to news reports.

The vaccination campaign “is developing as planned, which is seeing the gradual achievement of the objectives set for the immunisation of priority classes, the most vulnerable and fragile citizens,” wrote the commissioner.

READ ALSO: Italy says 99 percent of Covid deaths weren’t fully vaccinated

He said the latest move was intended to give “impetus” to vaccinating youngsters ahead of the return to school in September by creating “fast lanes” for this band that is still largely unvaccinated.

Italy began offering vaccination appointments to over-12s from early June.

Some 23 percent of 12-19 year-olds have been fully vaccinated in Italy, making up 1.75 million people in this group, according to the latest government figures.

The decision to prioritise this age bracket is also aimed at making the new sports season safer.

“This provision will also have positive implications to encourage the safe resumption of both sports activities and those aimed at ensuring greater mental and physical well-being for young people,” reads the letter.

The goal is the “completion of the vaccination of technical staff working in sports facilities or sports associations aimed at well-being,” he added.

Italy is also looking at vaccines for children younger than 12 in the next phase of the vaccination campaign.

Massimo Galli, director of the infectious diseases clinic at Milan’s Sacco Hospital, said, “the vaccine for the under-12s is fundamental because, with the reopening of schools, the spread among children is unstoppable,” he told Sky TG24’s news show ‘Buongiorno‘.

READ ALSO: Which parts of Italy could be declared Covid risk zones in August?

Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP

“In other words, without having vaccinated the entire population, including children, the possibility of containing the phenomenon becomes complicated,” he added.

Franco Locatelli, coordinator of the Scientific Technical Committee (CTS) gave November as a possible date to start vaccinating children.

“Pfizer and Moderna are close to the authorisation for the youngest, the under 12s. I believe that it is necessary to vaccinate even the youngest,” he said in an interview with newspaper Il Messaggero.

“By vaccinating children we will avoid outbreaks in primary schools. We will limit the circulation of the virus and the possibility of parents and grandparents becoming infected,” he added.

Referring to the Delta variant, which is driving Italy’s fourth wave of coronavirus, Galli indicated the need for updated vaccines “in order to really fight the disease”.

He also referred to the problem of the over-50s still unvaccinated – more than a quarter (28 percent) of 50-59 year-olds are still not fully immunised.

“The 50-year-olds who haven’t yet been vaccinated need to be convinced by telling them that if they expect to get away with it thanks to others’ vaccines, with the Delta variant in circulation they can give up that hope,” he said.

“In fact, it is so widespread that it can even reach people who have many vaccinated people around them,” he warned.

The news comes after Italy’s Higher Health Institute (ISS) released findings on the effectiveness of the vaccine, reporting that 99 percent of Covid deaths in Italy since February were among those not fully vaccinated.

In a bid to increase vaccinations, the Italian government has extended its ‘green pass‘ requirement to access many leisure and cultural sites across Italy – a move which has both sparked protests and increased vaccine bookings.

Some 65 percent of Italy’s population over 12 are now fully vaccinated, with 72.5 million doses administered in total.

Member comments

  1. Hi, wondering if vaccinating kids applies to foreign students studying in Italy? My 16 year old has had one dose at home and will need second jab in Italy. Anyone know if she’d be eligible for her second dose (Pfizer) in Italy, if she’s had her first jab at home? (Non- EU country), and generally if international students will be vaccinated too. Thanks.

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Italy approves fourth Covid vaccine doses for over-60s

Italy has extended the availability of a second Covid-19 vaccine booster shot as infection rates surge across the country.

Italy approves fourth Covid vaccine doses for over-60s

The Italian health ministry announced that fourth Covid vaccine doses, or second booster shots, will soon be available to all residents aged 60 and over, as national medicines regulator Aifa gave the green light on Monday.

Health minister Roberto Speranza said on Monday that doses could be administered to this age group “immediately”, as Italy “moves in line” with recommendations from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

“In the coming hours, immediately, already today, we will adapt our guidelines, our circulars and our indications. We will immediately open up administration in our regions.

“We mustn’t think that the battle against Covid is won. It is still ongoing and we must keep the level of caution high,” he said.

The health ministry confirmed in an update on its website that second booster doses were now recommended to “all persons aged 60 years or older, provided there has been an interval of at least 120 days since the first booster dose or the last post-booster infection (date of positive diagnostic test)”.

READ ALSO: Fourth jabs and isolation: Italy’s plan to control Covid cases this summer

The availability of fourth doses will vary by region, as each local health authority is responsible for managing the timing of its own vaccination campaign.

Several regions, including Lazio (around Rome) and Lombardy (around Milan), said on Monday that they would allow over-60s to book their fourth jabs within the coming days.

A fourth dose can be booked as usual, via pharmacies or family doctors, and via regional booking websites where available. (Find more information in a separate article here.)

Speranza didn’t say when second booster shots may be rolled out to all age groups, stating only that “a new vaccination campaign” is set to begin in September.

Health authorities have previously said they are not planning to make a fourth dose mandatory, though an annual “top-up” shot is likely to be offered.

Until now, only over-80s, care home residents, and clinically vulnerable patients have been eligible for a fourth shot in Italy.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

But health experts are also urging the government to speed up the administration of fourth jabs to these vulnerable groups: uptake remains far lower than hoped so far, with 78 percent of over-80s not getting theirs yet.

With the coronavirus infection rate now at its highest level since February, and the number of hospitalisations expected to keep rising in the coming weeks, the health ministry has not said whether it plans to bring back any recently-scrapped health measures.

For now, the government’s strategy appears to be focused on maintaining the relatively high rate of vaccination coverage in Italy: 90 percent of the population over 12 years old has been fully vaccinated with at least two doses, official figures show.

Find out more about booking a booster shot in Italy in a separate article here. See the government’s ‘prenotazione vaccino‘ (vaccine booking) website for links to regional authorities’ appointment reservation platforms.

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