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COVID-19 VACCINES

EXPLAINED: How to get a Covid-19 vaccine booster shot in Italy

Italy is offering booster shots to everyone aged over 18, with the waiting period now cut to four months. Here’s how you can access yours.

How to get your Covid booster shot in Italy.
How to get your Covid booster shot in Italy. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

Third or booster doses of anti-Covid-19 vaccines can be administered four months after completion of the initial vaccination cycle, as the Italian government cut the period down from five months on Monday – the reduced timeframe is aimed at keeping immunisation rates high as the number of infections continues to rise and hit new highs.

The initial vaccination cycle is defined as two doses of most Covid vaccines, or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson jab.

Initially, Italy offered booster shots to healthcare workers and those in older and more vulnerable age groups, but since December 1st has allowed anyone over the age of 18 to book a third dose.

The Italian authorities have also made it mandatory for the over 50s to get vaccinated, making it a requirement to produce a ‘super green pass’, which shows the bearer is vaccinated against or recently recovered from Covid, to enter their workplace from next month. As vaccination allows six months’ validity of the ‘super green pass’, many people in this age group will soon need their third dose to get to work if they already completed their vaccination cycle.

But there is often confusion about how boosters can be booked, with the process varying from region to region around Italy – and, as with the first dose, added obstacles for foreign residents of Italy who are not signed up to the country’s national health service.

Here’s a look at how and where to book your booster.

Start with your regional health authority’s website

Your first step should be to visit the website of your regional health authority and see what information is available there.

Italy’s healthcare system operates on a regional rather than a national level, so getting a booster in Tuscany will be a different process to getting one in Lombardy.

Some regions require appointments, while others allow walk-ins; some allow pharmacies to administer the vaccine, while others require you to go to a vaccination hub. Several regions make use of a national platform for booking shots, while some ask you to use their own platform.

The Tuscany health authority’s website, for example, has clear instructions on how to book an online appointment for your booster shot depending on which category you fall into.

In Basilicata, by contrast, no appointments are required and residents can walk in to any vaccination hub on the day to receive their shot, provided they have their tessera sanitaria (Italian health card) with them.

READ ALSO: Where to register for a Covid-19 vaccine in your region of Italy

A medical worker vaccinates a patient with a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at the Museum of Contemporary Art "Castello di Rivoli" near Turin on May 27, 2021.

Photo: Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Here are the relevant webpages for each Italian region:

Abruzzo: Third dose information here.

Autonomous Province of Bolzano: Third dose information here.

Autonomous Province of Trento: Third dose information here.

Basilicata: Third dose information here.

Calabria: Third dose information here.

Campania: Third dose information here.

Emilia Romagna: Third dose information here.

Friuli Venezia Giulia: Third dose information here.

Lazio: Third dose information here.

Liguria: Third dose information here.

Lombardy: Third dose information here.

Molise: Third dose information here.

Marche: Third dose information here.

Piedmont: Third dose information here.

Puglia: Third dose information here.

Sardinia: Third dose information here.

Sicily: Third dose information here.

Tuscany: Third dose information here.

Umbria: Third dose information here.

Valle d’Aosta: Third dose information here.

Veneto: Third dose information here.

People wait to receive a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at the Museum of Contemporary Art "Castello di Rivoli" near Turin on May 27, 2021.

People wait to receive a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at the Museum of Contemporary Art “Castello di Rivoli” near Turin. Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

If you can’t find the information you need online, ask your doctor

If you can’t see the information you need about boosters on the regional authority’s website, it’s a good idea to contact your family doctor or local pharmacist to see what they can tell you about accessing the jab.

In the Lombardy region, it is already possible to get a third dose from some pharmacies and this may soon happen in other regions.

If you don’t have an Italian health card, call up your health authority or vaccination centre

As was the case with the initial round of vaccines, it’s proving difficult to book a booster without a tessera sanitaria (Italian health card) and codice fiscale (tax code) – but, as readers showed with first doses, it’s not impossible.

The websites for most regional health authorities require patients to input both their tessera sanitaria and codice fiscale numbers in order to make an online booking.

That means that if you don’t have one, you’ll likely need to make a phone call to either your regional health authority or go directly to a nearby vaccination centre to see how they can help you.

In many cases, readers of The Local report being able to book an appointment by phone using only their codice fiscale number after explaining the situation.

READ ALSO: How to try to get a Covid-19 vaccine without a health card in your region of Italy

If you don’t speak Italian, it will be helpful to ask someone who does for assistance so they can help explain your situation.

If you experience pushback when trying to access a vaccine in Italy, be aware that you can:

  • Refer operators to the guidance from Italy’s medicines agency AIFA, which says that vaccination is open to “All persons residing or otherwise present on the Italian territory, with or without a residence permit or identity documents, including holders of the STP (Stranieri Temporaneamente Presenti) or ENI (European Non Iscritto) code, holders of the numerical tax code Codice Fiscale or those without one, holders of an expired health card and those who fall into the categories periodically updated by the Vaccination Plan”. Have the page ready on your smartphone: find the link in Italian here.
  • Refer operators to Ordinance 3/2021 from Italy’s Covid-19 Emergency Commission, which states: “each Region or Autonomous Province should proceed to vaccinate not only its resident population but also people domiciled on regional territory for reasons of work or family necessity, or any other justified and proven reason that requires their continuous presence in the Region or Autonomous Province.”

Find more information about Italy’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign on the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English).

Member comments

  1. In Lazio the problem is that the hotline is busy 24/7, it’s impossible to get through to a human and reserve the booster without a tessera. I plan to go directly to the vax center at Termini and ask if they can help me.

  2. Morning,
    Being a part of Italian culture in Roma the last 5 years, being a foreigner it was kinda easy to get the Pfizer booster at Termini. All you need is your Codice Fiscale card, your American CDC shot record and passport. The hardest part was waiting on the call center for 40 minutes before I verified what was needed and when. Foreigners can only get the booster jab weekdays after 14:00. Out of six pharmacies near the US Embassy, only one knew the procedure so this will save you lots of time and effort.! Be well and stay safe all.)))

  3. Anyone any ideas as to what happens to people who had a booster in U.K. (In my case October 2021 ) when the green pass rules change in February 22 to a 6/12 expiry ? In my case my Covid pass will not be acceptable in Italy beyond April 23

  4. In Umbria we tried in Dec for booster — appointmts booked up to end of Feb. our GP doesn’t do vax; suggested our farmacia. Couldn’t get an appointmt there — don’t do ‘non vulnerable ’ people, .. husband over 70 & Type 2 diabetic & me nrly 70 with chest condit. ?? So a trip to Marsciano (we r in Todi) to stand around in car park for 90 mins, for chance at the few doses avail for ‘walk in’s’. Managed to be far enough ahead in queue to get couple of the 60 doses avail that day.

  5. As normal with Italy official advice and real life examples are different, for example Campania says you can go straight to a vaccination hub without an appointment for the booster, Avellino for example don’t let you do that, and I’m sure other ASL’s areas are the same

  6. We have been looking for booster for two months.

    On the ASL assistance tel line (over twenty different conversations) we have been told
    -it’s only available for Tessera and Code Fiscale holders
    – it’s only available for citizens
    – they are out of vaccines and none are available.

    On the different websites where only the code is required, our code fiscale has been rejected as invalid. (We don’t have a Tessera ). Our code fiscale is valid.

    On the one website for foreigners and travelers that doesn’t require code fiscale, you know have to enter name, date of birth, and email. This was rejected as invalid despite repeated attempts.

    I have spoken with administrators of 3 different schools in Rome. They have all been working on booster shots for students for weeks or months. They all said that they have found it impossible and have yet to find a way. For a country that relies on tourism and promises vaccines for all, the inability to access vaccines for foreigners is a scandal.

    I love this country and have been coming here for many years and hope to do so for the rest of my life. But this has left a very bad taste in terms of how they treat foreigners and the competence of the basic systems.

  7. I have been phoning, emailing, and have gone to multiple pharmacists asking for help for over a month, especially as I will be reaching the “6 months since my vaccine” mark very soon. Quite literally no one has been able to help, and as I don’t have a car, I’ll hardly be able to travel to another region by train as I will not have the super green pass. So essentially, I have to get it in my city, and my city is making it utterly impossible to get. At this point, it would almost be easier to fly home, get my booster there, and fly back.

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COVID-19 VACCINES

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.

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