Italian anti-vax doctor arrested over fake Covid jabs

A doctor was arrested in the Italian city of Ravenna on Thursday for issuing false Covid vaccination certificates to people who refused the jab.

A nurse prepares to inject a dose of a Covid vaccine at a hospital in Rome.
At least 79 'green passes' are known to have been issued based on fake vaccine certificates. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Police said the 64-year-old general practitioner pretended to administer doses and issued bogus vaccine certificates to patients.

Some 79 green passes issued on the basis of the false certifcates were “seized”, reports Italian news agency Ansa.

The doctor was charged with fraud, embezzlement and corruption, while several other people including a police officer are also under investigation.

READ ALSO: Italy cracks down on Covid green pass protests

Italy’s green pass health certificate, which shows that the bearer is vaccinated, tested or recovered, is a requirement at many cultural and leisure venues and became obligatory in all workplaces on October 15th.

The Italian government this week issued new restrictions on protests against the health measure, saying repeated anti-green pass demonstrations had negatively impacted local businesses in cities across Italy.

One large anti-green pass and anti-vaccination demonstration in the northern city of Trieste recently sparked a Covid outbreak and is so far thought to be connected to at least 200 infections and five hospitalisations.

READ ALSO: Why are Covid infections in Italy rising?

The Italian health ministry said this week that it will speed up the administration of third doses to more age groups – as well as aiming to have 90 percent of the population fully vaccinated – amid concerns about waning vaccine immunity and the number of people still yet to have a first dose.

Though the numbers are rising around Europe and beyond, the increases in Italy have so far been relatively small. However, politicians and health experts maintain that more vaccine coverage is needed to keep the situation under control.

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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.