Almost all hospitalised Covid-19 patients in Italy are unvaccinated, says health watchdog

Covid-19 patients in Italy's hospitals at the moment are "almost exclusively unvaccinated people, in all age groups", according to the weekly monitoring report on the coronavirus situation in Italy from Gimbe, the country's foundation for evidence-based medicine.

Almost all hospitalised Covid-19 patients in Italy are unvaccinated, says health watchdog
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The report, published on Thursday, said offical data confirmed the effectiveness of vaccines against Covid-19 and that they had so far reduced deaths in Italy by 96.3%, hospitalizations by 93.4% and intensive care admissions by 95.7%.

The overall health situation improved in the week of September 8-14, the report said, as the number of new cases dropped by 14.7%, deaths were down 6.7%, the number of people in quarantine dropped 8.8%, hospital cases fell 3.3% and the number of patients in intensive care was down 1.6%.

READ ALSO: Italy set to make Covid ‘green pass’ mandatory for all employees

“The gradual increase in vaccination coverage and individuals’ adherence to correct behaviour has made it possible to contain the fourth wave, and the new cases and hospitalizations have finally begun to decline”, wrote Gimbe head Nino Cartabellotta in the report.

“However, with autumn upon us and the reopening of schools for 9.4 million people, in addition to the under 12s who have not yet received even one dose of the vaccine, there is a risk of a resumption of the circulation of the virus and an increase in hospitalizations, with consequent limitations in assistance to non-Covid-19 patients “

The report also noted that the number of first vaccine doses administered in Italy continued to slow over the past seven days (by -200,000 compared to the previous week) and warned that millions of people remain completely unvaccinated, with the number particularly high among the over-50s.

Overall 3.9 million aged 50 (14.4%) have not yet completed the vaccination cycle, data showed, with significant regional differences: the highest being 17% in Calabria, compared to a low of 6.7% in neighbouring Puglia. Of these, three million have not received a first dose.

The Italian government is expected on Thursday to pass a decree making the Covid-19 health pass compulsory for all employees in both the public and private sector, as part of a series of moves aimed at increasing vaccination coverage.

READ ALSO: Why September will be the ‘decisive’ month for Italy’s Covid vaccination campaign

The government has also confirmed that it is considering making Covid vaccinations obligatory amid the final push to meet immunisation targets this month.

A decision on obligatory jabs is expected by the end of September, and will partly depend on what percentage of the population can be persuaded to get the jab voluntarily by that date.

Italy aims to have 80 percent of the population over 12 years old fully vaccinated by September 30th.

The current figure as of Thursday stands at just under 75 percent, according to the latest government data.

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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.