Italy confirms unlimited Covid green pass validity after booster

The recent cut to the validity of vaccine passes will not apply to those who have had a booster shot, Italy's government confirmed on Wednesday evening.

Italy confirms unlimited Covid green pass validity after booster
A recent cut to the validity of vaccine passes in Italy will not apply to those who have had a booster. Photo: JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP

“The validity of the green pass will become unlimited for those who have had three doses – or two doses and have already had Covid-19”, read a tweet from the prime minister’s office following the conclusion of a cabinet meeting on Wednesday night.

A press release issued later on Wednesday night clarified that this applies “after the completion of the primary vaccination cycle” – therefore also to people who have had the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The six-month validity period of Italy’s ‘super’ or ‘reinforced’ green pass introduced on Tuesday, February 1st, will now only apply to passes issued based on two vaccine doses.

The rule change will be introduced within a new decree which will also scrap restrictions under the four-tiered ‘zone’ system, including ‘red zones’, for those who are vaccinated, the prime minister’s office said.

The decree also relaxed the rules on using Italy’s domestic ‘green pass’ for visitors, amid concerns that the country’s tight rules on showing proof of vaccination would impact the restart of tourism

Travellers from countries with different vaccination rules than Italy, and who are therefore unable to show valid proof of vaccination, will now instead be able to use a ‘basic’ green pass – accessible with a negative test result only – to access places such as hotels and restaurants where a vaccination pass was previously required.

So far, Italy recognises proof of full vaccination in any country on par with its own vaccination certificate or ‘super’ green pass, but these must be with a vaccine approved by the European or Italian medicines agency and must meet other criteria to be recognised as valid.

Health passes issued in any other European member state are automatically recognised in Italy.

“Today’s measures go in the direction of an even greater reopening of the country”, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said during the meeting according to reports from national broadcaster Rai.

“In the coming weeks we will continue on this path towards reopening,” he said. “Based on the scientific evidence, and continuing to follow the trend of the epidemiological curve, we will announce a timeline for overcoming the current restrictions”.

The new decree is expected to come into force from February 7th, according to Rai.

The new six-month validity rule was revised just a day after it came into force on Tuesday, amid widespread concern about the impact on those who already had their booster shots almost six months ago

With no fourth dose available, tens of thousands of people who had a booster almost six months ago in Italy risked losing access to workplaces, public transport and much of public life within the next few weeks as their passes were set to become invalid.

Most of those affected would be healthcare workers, who were among the first to be vaccinated with a third dose in Italy from September.

The rule change was also expected to prove problematic for foreign tourists from countries which began administering booster shots earlier than Italy, such as the US.

It is not known how long the Italian green pass system will remain in place for, with the rules only valid under the country’s state of emergency – which is currently set to expire on March 31st, 2022.

The Italian government’s move to cut validity was intended to push more people in the country to get their third or booster jabs within six months after completion of the initial vaccination cycle.

Boosters are available to everyone in Italy aged over 18 from four months after completion of the initial vaccination cycle.

More than 83 percent of the eligible population in Italy has now been vaccinated with a third dose, according to the latest official data on Wednesday. 

Find more information about Covid-19 vaccinations in Italy and the green pass system on the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English) and the official green pass website.

Member comments

  1. Great news on the extended validity of 3 booster jabs. Now the next question is about the 12-17 year old children from other countries that may not get the 3 vaccine at all, and got their second vaccine last autumn (so 6 moths are very soon full) and who’s families have booked or planned holidays to Italy ? Many must already cancel skiing holidays to Italy because of this issue.

  2. i believe under EU law this period is 9 months and not 6. So if you travel to Italy from EU/Schengen this is applicable.This hopefully gives some relief

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Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

It will still be obligatory for passengers to wear masks on flights to Italy until mid-June, despite the end of the EU-wide requirement on Monday, May 16th, the Italian government has confirmed.

Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

The Italian government reiterated on Friday that its current mask-wearing rules remain in place until June 15th, reports newspaper Corriere della Sera.

This means the mask mandate will still apply to all air passengers travelling to or from Italy, despite the end of an EU-wide requirement to wear masks on flights and at airports across the bloc from Monday.

READ ALSO: Reader question: What type of mask will I need for travel to Italy?

National regulations take precedence, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) confirmed when announcing the end of the EU rules.

“Wearing face masks at airports and inflight should be aligned with national measures on wearing masks in public transport and transport hubs,” they said in a joint statement published on May 11th.

READ ALSO: Why are so many Italians still wearing face masks in shops?

“If either the departure or destination States require the wearing of face masks on public transport, aircraft operators should require passengers and crew to comply with those requirements inflight, beyond 16 May 2022.

“Further, as of 16 May 2022, aircraft operators, during their pre-flight communications as well as during the flight, should continue to encourage their passengers and crew members to wear face masks during the flight as well as in the airport, even when wearing a face mask is not required”.

The Spanish government also said on Thursday that air passengers would have to continue wearing face masks on planes.

Italy’s current rules specify that higher-grade FFP2 masks should be worn on all forms of public transport, including buses, trams, regional and high-speed trains, ferries, and planes.

Though rules were eased in some settings from May 1st, masks also remain a requirement until June 15th at Italy’s cinemas and theatres, hospitals and care homes, indoor sporting event and concert venues, schools and universities.