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Reader question: How do I book a Covid booster without an Italian health card?

Need a Covid-19 booster shot but aren't registered with Italy's national health service? Here's what you can do.

A woman is vaccinated at a Covid-19 vaccination hub in a car park at Rome's Fiumicino airport on February 11, 2021.
The process of booking your vaccination varies from one Italian region to another. Photo: Tiziana FABI / AFP

The Italian government is urging everyone living in the country who is eligible for a booster to book one immediately ahead of changes to the rules on the use of the ‘super green pass’, or vaccine pass.

But some of Italy’s foreign residents have contacted The Local to say they’re unsure how to do so, or have had trouble navigating the bureaucratic system.

As was the case with the initial round of vaccines, it’s sometimes proving difficult to book a Covid-19 booster in Italy without a tessera sanitaria (Italian health card) and codice fiscale (tax code) – but, as readers showed with first doses, it’s not impossible.

The websites for most regional health authorities require patients to input both their tessera sanitaria and codice fiscale numbers in order to make an online booking.

That makes it tricky for someone without one of these documents to book their shot – but, as is often the case in Italy, there are various ways around the problem. 

READ ALSO: How to try to get a Covid-19 vaccine without a health card in your region of Italy

The first option foreign residents without a health card should look into is whether their area has any walk-in vaccine clinics.

As Italy is now pushing to vaccinate its population with a third dose, some regions are running vaccination drives that don’t require appointments.

Sardinia, for example, has announced that its vaccination centres will hold multiple ‘open days’ during which people can show up and get a booster without booking.

Check the websites of your regional health service as well as the local health authority for your province or city to see whether they are offering this service; if they are, it could save you a lot of time and energy. Find links here.

If there are no walk-in clinics operating in your area, you’ll need to find a way to book your appointment without using any of the online platforms that require a health card number.

A vaccination hub outside Rome's Termini railway station on March 24, 2021.
A vaccination hub outside Rome’s Termini railway station. Photo: ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP.

That means you’ll likely need to make a phone call to either your regional health authority or go in person to a nearby vaccination centre to see how they can help you.

In many cases, readers of The Local report being able to book an appointment by phone using only their codice fiscale number after explaining the situation.

READ ALSO: Do I need to update my Italian green pass after a booster shot?

If you don’t speak Italian, it’s a good idea to ask someone who does for assistance so they can help explain your situation and help argue your case (including once you get to the vaccination centre).

If you experience pushback when trying to access a vaccine in Italy, be aware that you can:

  • Refer operators to the guidance from Italy’s medicines agency AIFA, which says that vaccination is open to “All persons residing or otherwise present on the Italian territory, with or without a residence permit or identity documents, including holders of the STP (Stranieri Temporaneamente Presenti) or ENI (European Non Iscritto) code, holders of the numerical tax code Codice Fiscale or those without one, holders of an expired health card and those who fall into the categories periodically updated by the Vaccination Plan”. Have the page ready on your smartphone: find the link in Italian here.
  • Refer operators to Ordinance 3/2021 from Italy’s Covid-19 Emergency Commission, which states: “each Region or Autonomous Province should proceed to vaccinate not only its resident population but also people domiciled on regional territory for reasons of work or family necessity, or any other justified and proven reason that requires their continuous presence in the Region or Autonomous Province.”

Once you’ve had your booster dose, you should automatically receive a code which will allow you to download your updated Covid green pass within 48 hours, according to the health ministry.

Find out more about downloading and using your updated green pass here.

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

Do you have a question about vaccine passes that is not covered here? Email us at [email protected] and we will do our best to answer it.

Member comments

  1. My post with relevant links, is still awaiting moderation

    Lombardia and Sienna vaccinate foreigners with a codice fiscale but without a tessera sanitaria. I got my first vaccine in Cremona and the booster in Arezzo. It took some driving but I stayed over to handle any immediate side-effects and did some sight-seeing.

    1. See below for the links. You do not have to be resident in the region, though I filled in a Cremona post code on the web form and then told them I was visiting friends when I got there. I am a resident of Tuscany.

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Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

Italian heathcare staff suspended over their refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19 can now return to work, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni confirmed on Monday.

Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

Italy become the first country in Europe to make it obligatory for healthcare workers to be vaccinated, ruling in 2021 that they must have the jab or be transferred to other roles or suspended without pay.

That obligation had been set to expire in December, but was brought forward to Tuesday due to “a shortage of medical and health personnel”, Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said.

READ ALSO: Is Italy’s government planning to scrap all Covid measures?

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, and has since registered nearly 180,000 deaths.

Schillaci first announced the plan to scrap the rule on Friday in a statement saying data showed the virus’ impact on hospitals  “is now limited”.

Those who refuse vaccination will be “reintegrated” into the workforce before the rule expires at the end of this year, as part of what the minister called a “gradual return to normality”.

Meloni said the move, which has been criticised by the centre-left as a win for anti-vax campaigners, would mean some 4,000 healthcare workers can return to work.

This includes some 1,579 doctors and dentists refusing vaccination, according to records at the end of October, representing 0.3 percent of all those registered with Italy’s National Federation of the Orders of Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists (Fnomceo) 

Meloni’s post-fascist Brothers of Italy party railed against the way Mario Draghi’s government handled the pandemic, when it was the main opposition party, and she promised to use her first cabinet meetings to mark a clear break in policies with her predecessor.