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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 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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