Italy to give Covid vaccine boosters four months after last dose

People wait to be vaccinated at a hub in Milan.
Italy is further shortening the gap between second and third vaccine doses as Omicron spreads. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
From January 10th, vaccine booster shots will be made available four months after the last dose instead of five, Italy’s pandemic emergency commissioner confirmed on Monday.

The date, which was previously only hypothetical, was confirmed on Monday morning by emergency commissioner Francesco Paolo Figliuolo during a visit to a vaccination hub in Cuneo in the northern Italian region of Piedmont, reports Italian news agency Ansa.

Italy is currently allowing the administration of booster shots five months after the completion of the initial vaccination cycle (two doses of an anti-Covid-19 vaccine, or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

Calendar: When do Italy’s Covid-19 rules change?

Figliuolo said on Monday that shortening the gap between doses “will give a further boost” to Italy’s vaccination campaign.

He added that health authorities are “racing to try to stem the Omicron variant”, with the new measures announced as cases soared to an all-time high in recent days.

The change was first announced on Thursday as the Italian government approved a new decree containing a raft of tightened health precautions, though no definite date was initially given for bringing booster doses forward.

Almost 90 percent of the Italian population now has at least some immunity to Covid, Figliuolo said, “between first doses and those recovered within the past six months” but he noted that around 5.7 million eligible adults in Italy remain unvaccinated, with numbers particularly high in the 30-59 age group.

“I’m still concerned by the vaccine hesitant, there are a few million people who could give us a hand in curbing the virus and especially these variants,” he said.

READ ALSO: Italy makes outdoor mask wearing compulsory

Asked if the government will consider further measures to increase vaccination coverage, such as a long-discussed vaccine mandate for the general public, Figliuolo said “I believe that bringing forward the third dose forward to four months from January 10th is a balanced choice for now, but I don’t want to rule anything out.”

“We have seen how quickly this virus moves with its variants, and that what one says today can be changed tomorrow by evidence from the field,” he said.

“Omicron is much more contagious than Delta, some say up to five times more,” he continued. “Fortunately for now there is no clinical evidence of increased seriousness, however it is clear that those who are fully vaccinated and especially those who have had the booster are well covered against Omicron.”

As coronavirus infection rates soared above 50,000 a day in Italy over the Christmas period, forcing hundreds of thousands of people into isolation over the holidays, health experts called for a review of current rules requiring seven days of isolation if vaccinated and a ten-day period for those who are not vaccinated.

For further details about Italy’s current Covid-19 health measures please see the Italian Health Ministry’s website (available in English).


Member comments

  1. I have had both vaccines and due to underlying health issues I need my booster. Like everyone it’s impossible without a health card. Can anyone help? Is there any walk in clinics. I live in province of Pisa/Volterra.

    Joanne Berger

      1. I have tried many times. Either technical error or I cannot input codice fiscale. It’s impossible to type anything in there –

        Joanne Berger

        1. Hi Joanne
          I also live in Tuscany. The problem with the website (https://prenotavaccino.sanita.toscana.it/#/home) is that although it provides an option to book a vaccination online without a Tessera Sanitaria, the site requires the insertion of a “Codice Numerico” (as opposed to a Codice Fiscale). Unfortunately the relevant box will only accept numbers (no letters) so it is impossible to insert a Codice Fiscale. I have no idea why this is the case as all the other booking options on the website require the insertion of a Codice Fiscale. I have tried the HelpDesk number (800 004477) but, after holding for several minutes, keep getting cut off without being able to speak to anyone. If anyone can advise what “Codice Numerico” the website is seeking it would be much appreciated.

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