There was a 31 percent weekly increase in the number of first vaccine doses administered in the November 30-December 5th period, according to a report published on Thursday by Italy’s evidence-based medicine foundation GIMBE.
This was equal to 223,000 jabs in a week, health ministry data showed.
The modest uptick came after weeks of falling or stagnating vaccination rates, with the number dropping to a low of 105,000 in early November.
GIMBE attributed last week’s rise to the introduction of tighter restrictions on the unvaccinated under new ‘super green pass’ rules introduced on Monday.
In the same period, the number of third doses administered more than doubled.
Some 2.6 million booster jabs were administered, equal to a 52 percent increase week-on-week, the data showed.
The spike in booster uptake came as Italy began offering third jabs to all over-18s in the country from December 1st.
The Italian government has accelerated its booster campaign while tightening restrictions nationwide for those who choose not to get vaccinated as it pushes to keep immunisation levels in the country high amid a fourth wave of contagion.
A Civil Protection volunteer at a vaccination hub in Turin. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP
The data published on Thursday also showed new coronavirus infections had risen by 22 percent over the same week, with a 12 percent rise in deaths, 16 percent increase in hospital admissions and 13 percent in ICU cases.
Access to many cultural and leisure venues, including nightclubs and sports facilities, is now restricted to those who can prove they are vaccinated or recovered under the new ‘super’ or reinforced green pass rules. Health passes which were issued based on recovery or vaccination will remain valid for entry to all venues.
Amid steadily rising infection and hospitalisation rates, several Italian regions are expected to be declared ‘yellow’ or ‘orange’ risk zones in the coming weeks under Italy’s tiered system of health rules.
However, under the ‘super green pass’ system, businesses can remain open and public transport will operate as usual – but with restrictions increasing further in ‘orange’ zones for those who are not vaccinated.
More than 88 percent of the Italian population has now had at least one dose of a vaccine, according to the latest health ministry data on Friday, while nearly 85 percent have completed the vaccination cycle (with two doses or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine).