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COVID-19 VACCINES

Over-50s in Italy without Covid booster face 100 euro fine

People aged 50 and over living in Italy could be fined 100 euros if they fail to get a booster shot within a specified timeframe, according to the country's latest set of Covid rules.

A medical worker prepares a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at a hospital in Vercelli, Piedmont, on April 15, 2021
A medical worker prepares a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at a hospital in Vercelli, Piedmont, on April 15, 2021 (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP).

Over-50s will require a ‘super green pass’ health certificate (showing the bearer is vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid) to enter their workplace from February 15th, while anyone (employed or not) in this age group who remains unvaccinated as of February 1st will be fined 100 euros, according to the government’s January 5th decree.

Those who do not get their booster shot could also face a 100-euro fine under the new vaccine mandate for over-50s.

The government hopes the requirement will prevent healthcare facilities from becoming overwhelmed by Covid cases, and allow the country to remain open as people return to work and school after the Christmas break.

“We are working in particular on the age groups that are most at risk of being hospitalised, to reduce pressure on hospitals and to save lives,” said Prime Minister Mario Draghi at the cabinet meeting where the measure was adopted.

READ ALSO: How will Italy enforce its vaccine mandate for over-50s?

The new rules for the first time impose a vaccine requirement on anyone living in Italy aged 50 or over, or anyone due to turn 50 by June 15th (the date by which the mandate is currently due to expire).

The “one-off” 100-euro fines will be collected “automatically” by Italy’s Agenzie delle Entrate (Inland Revenue-Recovery Agency) based on data passed on from the country’s national health system, the health ministry confirmed in an update published on its official vaccination information site.

Those who are notified that they are in violation of the rules have ten days to communicate to their local health office (Azienda sanitaria locale or Asl), the reason for their vaccination status.

Certain categories of people, including those with certified medical conditions and those who have recovered from Covid in the past six months, are exempt from the requirement (though the Covid-recovered must get vaccinated once the six months are up).

The decree also specifies that the 100 euro fine applies to those who as of February 1st have not completed their primary vaccination cycle “in accordance with the instructions and within the timeframe provided in the Ministry of Health’s circular,” as well as those who haven’t received a booster shot within the required timeframe.

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

However, exactly what those timeframes are is left ambiguous.

For receiving a booster, the decree references previous laws which offer up both six months and nine months from the last shot as possible timeframes. For now, it’s safest to assume that you should get your booster shot within six months of your last dose to avoid the fine; this is how Italian news outlets such as il Quotidiano have interpreted the decree.

Booster shots are currently available to all adults in Italy four months after completion of the initial vaccination cycle. Find out how to book a booster shot in Italy here.

When it comes to the timeframe for completing the initial vaccination cycle, the decree text remains unclear and the government may be yet to issue further guidance. The Local is seeking clarification.

Regardless, those who have received or are shortly due to receive their primary dose should ensure they schedule their second dose within the timeframe recommended by the healthcare provider administering the shot.

In recent days Italy has seen record highs in its Covid infection rates, with over 196,000 new cases recorded on Wednesday, and hospitals have reported being inundated by patients suffering from Covid symptoms. Most of those hospitalised with the virus are unvaccinated and over the age of 50.

The latest records from the national statistics agency Istat show that 28 million people in Italy out of a total of 59 million residents – almost half the population – are over the age of 50.

Whilst Italy has one of highest Covid vaccination rates in Europe (74 percent of the entire population is fully jabbed) it’s estimated that around 2.3 million people aged over 50 in the country have still not had a single dose.

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

Member comments

  1. We have a green pass that was issued this summer and are boosted. Is there any other requirements? we are US citizens.

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COVID-19 RULES

Reader question: What are Italy’s Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Italy's quarantine rules have changed so many times over the past couple of years, it can be hard to keep track. Here's the latest information on when and how visitors need to self-isolate.

Reader question: What are Italy's Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Question: “One of your recent articles says you can exit quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. But you can also exit quarantine by obtaining a certificate of recovery from Covid-19… true?”

Unfortunately, official proof of having recovered from Covid-19 won’t get you out of the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while visiting Italy – though it can shorten your quarantine period.

The health ministry’s current rules state that anyone who tests positive while in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days: that’s if the person in question is fully vaccinated and boosted, or has completed their primary vaccination cycle, or was certified as being recovered from Covid less than 120 days ago.

That period is extended to 10 days for those who aren’t fully vaccinated and boosted, or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days in order to exit quarantine (with the exception of symptoms relating to a lost sense of taste or smell, which can persist for some time after the infection is over).

READ ALSO: Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

The patient must also test negative for the virus via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test on the final day of the quarantine in order to be allowed out.

Read more about getting tested while in Italy in a separate article here.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days, at which point they will be automatically released.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative in order to enter its borders, as long as they are fully boosted or were recently vaccinated/ have recently recovered from Covid.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

Some countries (including the US), however, do require people travelling from Italy to test negative before their departure – which means visitors at the tail end of their journey could be hit with the unpleasant surprise of finding out they need to quarantine for another week in Italy instead of heading home as planned.

It’s because of this rule that a number of The Local’s readers told us they wouldn’t be coming on holiday to Italy this summer, and intend to postpone for another year.

If you are planning on visiting Italy from a country that requires you to test negative for Covid prior to re-entry, it’s a good idea to consider what you would do and where you would go in the unlikely event you unexpectedly test positive.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.

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