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

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

A nurse prepares a Covid vaccine dose.
Booster shots of Covid vaccines are recommended to prevent waning immunity amid a rise in contagions. Photo: Theo Rouby/AFP

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.

Member comments

  1. 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.

    1. 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

      1. My thanks to Clare and the crew for providing cogent, clear and on-point information regarding all things living, working and staying healthy in Italy.

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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.