Italy to offer Covid booster jabs to all over-40s from December

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Italy to offer Covid booster jabs to all over-40s from December
A nurse prepares a dose of the Comirnaty vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech against the Covid-19 in a vaccination centre in Noumea, in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia, on September 7, 2021. - New Caledonia imposed a new coronavirus lockdown starting on September 7, 2021, after three new cases were confirmed in the South Pacific French territory that had been declared "Covid free", officials said. (Photo by Theo Rouby / AFP)

Amid concerns about rising Covid cases, the Italian health minister said third vaccine doses would soon be offered to more age groups.


Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Wednesday that third doses will be extended to those aged between 40-60 from December 1st.

He said administering more booster shots was "absolutely strategic for our vaccine campaign".

READ ALSO: Italy’s fourth Covid wave ‘can be reduced’, says health expert

"We started with the immuno-compromised, the frail, health workers, over 60s and those who had J&J who can have booster shots after six months," Speranza said in answer to a question in Parliament, news agency Ansa reports.

Health authorities are reportedly aiming to start offering the booster to all age groups from early 2022.

The government is pushing to speed up the administration of third doses - as well as aiming to have 90 percent of the population fully vaccinated - as Covid infections and hospitalisation rates rise.

READ ALSO: Why are Covid infections in Italy rising?

Though the numbers are rising around Europe and beyond, the increases in Italy have so far been relatively small and authorities are not currently planning to bring in any new restrictions.


However, politicians and health experts maintain that more vaccine coverage is needed to keep the situation under control.

Boosters are recommended to prevent immunity from waning in people who had their first jabs in early 2021.

Walter Ricciardi, a professor of hygiene and preventive medicine and a health advisor to the Italian government, on Monday echoed other experts in saying Italy needs to offer third doses to a wider section of the population as soon as possible in order to contain the fourth wave.

"If we continue to use protection, if we have third doses and adequately manage testing and tracing in schools, it will remain a small wave, not an overwhelming one like in other countries," he said.

As of Wednesday, some 45 million people or almost 84 percent of the Italian population over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated, and just over two million have received booster shots, health ministry data showed.


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Anonymous 2021/11/11 09:42
But where exactly are these boosters available and, of course, please clarify the population who can actually get them? As a pending resident and not yet registered with the national health services, it's difficult to find even the most scant of information about where to go and from whom to request the 3rd "punto." A friend said, "Oh there's this hospital at the end of the tram line..." Is that it? Where to go by word of mouth and by speculation? Any help would be most appreciated, especially with travel restrictions tightening for those without this booster.
  • Anonymous 2021/11/11 10:02
    Hi, That's a good question. We're working on a longer article at the moment with more information about this, but the system varies depending on your local health authority. If you don't have an Italian doctor and are not signed up with the national health service we'd advise checking your regional authority's website for information or contacting a vaccination centre in your area. We'll publish any further information as we get it. Best wishes, - Clare

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