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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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Covid vaccines halved Italy’s death toll, study finds

Italy's Covid-19 vaccination campaign prevented some 150,000 deaths, slashing the country's death toll by almost half, the national health institute (ISS) said on Wednesday.

Covid vaccines halved Italy's death toll, study finds

Vaccines also prevented eight million cases of Covid-19, over 500,000 hospitalisations, and more than 55,000 admissions to intensive care, the ISS said in a press release announcing the publication of its report.

The report covers the period between December 27th, 2020, when the vaccination campaign began, and January 31st of this year, using a methodology initially developed for flu vaccines.

It said 72 percent of deaths avoided from the disease were among over-80s, 19 percent in the 70-79 range, 7 percent in the 60-69 range and 3 percent under 60.

Italy has been one of the countries worst affected by the  pandemic, with more than 160,000 deaths reported since February 2020, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain.

To date, almost 90 percent of the population over the age of 12 has been fully vaccinated, as well as just over 34 percent of children aged five to eleven.

Italy on Tuesday began offering a fourth dose of an anti-Covid 19 vaccine to those deemed at highest risk from the disease, including over-80s and care home residents.