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COVID-19 VACCINES

Italy to offer Covid booster jabs to all over-18s from December 1st

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said Italy will administer third vaccine doses to those aged 18 and over from December 1st, as the government launched a new decree tightening Covid restrictions.

Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza said the country will offer Covid boosters to all over-18s from December 1st.
Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza said the country will offer Covid boosters to all over-18s from December 1st. Photo: Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Italy will offer the booster to anyone in the country aged 18 and up from the start of next month, the health minister announced at a press conference on Wednesday where he laid out the measures contained in the latest decree.

READ ALSO: Italy to impose ‘super green pass’ Covid restrictions on unvaccinated

“We have an advantage, in part due to the courageous choices made in the previous months,” Speranza said, “and we want to try to maintain it by staying ahead of the virus”.

The booster has been available to anyone in Italy aged over 40 since November 22nd, after the government brought forward its planned start date for extending the eligibility criteria by 10 days.

“The contagion curve is rising in our country and, even more so, in European countries close to Italy. The vaccine is the main tool for reducing the spread of the virus and serious forms of disease,” Speranza said last week at an event organised by agricultural association Coldiretti.

“We are still inside the Covid challenge, and the numbers coming from EU countries indicate that there is a need to keep the level of attention very high.”

READ ALSO: Italy allows Covid boosters for over-40s as infection rate rises

Italy’s new coronavirus decree, unanimously approved by the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, tightens restrictions for the unvaccinated and limits the venues and services that they can access.

As of December 6th, the ‘super green pass’ health certificate, which can only be obtained by those who are vaccinated against or have recently recovered from Covid, will be required to access most ‘non-essential’ venues.

Up to now the basic ‘green pass’, which shows the holder is vaccinated against, recovered from, or has recently tested negative for the coronavirus has been accepted as valid in all situations.

The validity of the super green pass will also be reduced from 12 to nine months, amid indications that the protection afforded by the vaccine diminishes faster than previously thought.

READ ALSO: Q&A: How will Italy’s new Covid ‘super green pass’ work?

The law contains a range of other measures designed to increase vaccine uptake and flatten Italy’s contagion curve, which currently exceeds the epidemic threshold.

From December 15th, vaccines will be mandatory for administrative staff working in healthcare facilities and care homes, school staff, police officers, those working in the military, and emergency services workers.

Healthcare workers in Italy, including pharmacy staff and care home workers, are already subject to a vaccine mandate under a law approved in April.

On Tuesday, Speranza announced that the health ministry would make boosters available to eligible groups five months after completion of the first vaccine cycle, down from the sixth month interval previously in place.

Almost 85 percent of Italy’s eligible population over 12 years old has now completed the first vaccination cycle, according to the latest figures.

Almost 3.5 million booster shots have been administered in Italy so far.

Member comments

  1. There remains, I believe, no way for a person without a tessera sanitaria to get the vaccine or booster shots. I just visited at an ASL site and they indicated I would just have to wait until I registered for my tessera sanitaria.

    I appreciate not wanting to provide vaccinations to people from all over the world, but it seems counter-productive to exclude a variety of people living or staying over a period of time in Italy from vaccinations, while not included in the healthcare system.

    It’s not only the people with tessera sanitaria who catch COVID. I saw that over 5 million foreign nationals live in Italy, or about 8% of the country. I’m sure many have their permesso di soggiorno’s and a sanitaria registration, however there are probably quite a few “in transition.”

    Let’s assume you arrive and have a 1 year Visa and apply for your permesso. It would still take (currently estimated times) 90 days to complete the permesso process. All that time is there is a risk of being exposed to COVID.

    There are many things not good about healthcare services in the USA, but in terms of the COVID vaccinations, you can now make an appointment at any pharmacy and get your shot, go through your doctor/provider, or participate in community programs and use local clinics and hospitals for access. (And the shot is free.)

    I respectlyfully submit that looking at distributing vaccinations outside of the Italian health service system might be prudent, especially with variants cropping up and threatening gains previously made in nation-wise immunization.

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Italy opens Covid booster jab bookings from Monday

Regional health services in Italy will open bookings for Covid-19 booster shots to priority groups from Monday as the first deliveries of updated vaccines arrived in the country.

Italy opens Covid booster jab bookings from Monday

“From Monday, September 12th, bookings for the new dual-strain vaccines can begin at the regional level,” said director general of the Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa), Nicola Magrini, at a health ministry press conference on Friday.

Booster shots will not be mandatory and will be offered to priority groups first, health authorities confirmed.

READ ALSO: Italy gives green light to new dual-strain Covid vaccines

“The arrival of the new vaccines should strengthen the conviction of those who have to take the fourth dose because of their age or because they have other conditions,” Magrini said. 

Aifa on Monday approved the Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Spikevax (Moderna) dual-strain vaccines, which are effective against both the original strain and the more recent Omicron variants.

Italy will receive 19 million doses of the new vaccines in September, said Franco Locatelli, president of Italy’s Higher Health Council (ISS), at the press conference. 

The updated vaccines have been shown to “generate an antibody response against the Omicron Ba4 and 5 variants, which are the prevalent ones,” he said.

They represent “96 percent of all strains isolated in Italy so far”, he said.

Italian healthcare workers preparing doses of Covid vaccine.

The new dual-strain vaccines will be offered first to at-risk patients, including people aged over 60 and care home residents. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Covid vaccines “have been a triumph of science and medicine” and “have saved millions of lives”, Locatelli added.

Booster jabs are currently recommended for those in higher-risk categories as Italy begins its autumn vaccination campaign.

Priority will be given to those who are still waiting to receive a second booster dose (the so-called fourth dose); therefore over-60s and people with health conditions that make them more susceptible to developing more severe forms of the Covid-19 disease, according to the latest memo from the health ministry.

READ ALSO: What is Italy’s Covid vaccination plan this autumn?

Magrini said the priority list also includes “health workers, pregnant women, and residents of facilities for the elderly”.

But “it can also be administered to those under 60 who ask for it,” he added.

Booster shots can only be administered to those who received their last dose at least 120 days (about four months) earlier.

The vaccination campaign is expected to be expanded to all over-12s who have only completed the initial vaccination cycle. For this category, the new booster shot would be their third dose.

How do you book a booster shot?

As in previous vaccination campaigns, each regional health authority will manage their own local vaccination programmes, including their timing.

Bookings should work in much the same way as before, with patients being able to book their appointments through GPs, pharmacies or their ASL’s website where available.

Shots can be administered by family doctors as well as at designated vaccination hubs in more densely populated areas.

The autonomous province of Trentino said it will begin administering jabs immediately from Monday and will allow residents to begin booking jabs from Saturday, September 10th.

Other regions and autonomous provinces are expected to announce their plans in the coming days.

For further information on availability and reservation in your region, see the official vaccination booking website.

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