Covid-19: Italy says 70 percent of population vaccinated with first dose is ‘comforting’

Covid-19: Italy says 70 percent of population vaccinated with first dose is 'comforting'
Italian authorities have now administered 73 million shots, meaning that 70 percent of the Italian population over 12 years old have received their first jab, the government announced on Thursday.

Over 65 percent of the Italian population is now fully vaccinated, according to the latest government figures, making some 35.2 million people over 12 years old.

This, along with the amount of people partially immunised, is “a great result” and the data paints “a comforting picture”, stated the Italian government.

Authorities pointed to certain age groups as a measure of the vaccination campaign’s success, with over 91 percent of the over-80s now fully vaccinated.

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

However, this means that some 203,000 80-89 year-olds still haven’t received a single dose, according to the health data.

For the 70-79 year-olds over 86 percent are now fully vaccinated, more than 80 percent for the 60-69 age group and over 71 percent among the 50-59 year-olds.

The news is “a very encouraging result,” wrote health Minister Roberto Speranza on his Facebook profile.

“We must continue on this path, because vaccines are the best tool to begin a new season. Thanks to all the team working every day towards this goal in every corner of the country,” he added.

The data comes after Italy’s coronavirus emergency commissioner Francesco Figliuolo said young people between 12 and 18 years old will be able to get their vaccine doses without booking from August 16th.

Experts are behind ramping up vaccination efforts as Italy is in its fourth wave of coronavirus driven by the Delta variant.

Massimo Galli, director of the infectious diseases clinic at Milan’s Sacco Hospital,  told Sky TG24’s news show ‘Buongiorno‘. earlier this week there’s a need for updated vaccines “in order to really fight the disease”.

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

And instead of seeing the over-50s vaccination data as “comforting”, he claimed that those in this age group who haven’t yet been vaccinated “need to be convinced” to get immunised.

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

There were 7,270 new cases recorded on Thursday for the previous 24 hours, according to data from the Ministry of Health. This is compared to 6,968 on Wednesday.

Sicily has seen the greatest increase in cases with 1,134, followed by Tuscany with 876 and Lombardy with 679.

The positivity rate is 3.3 percent, stable compared to yesterday’s 3 percent.

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