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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‘Not offensive’: Italian minister defends Covid testing rule for China arrivals

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani defended the policy of testing all arrivals from China for Covid-19 after Beijing said the policy "lacks scientific basis".

'Not offensive': Italian minister defends Covid testing rule for China arrivals

“It seems perfectly normal to me,” Tajani told Italian state broadcaster Rai on Tuesday. “Having a test is a way to protect people’s health. There is nothing offensive about it.”

“Lots of Chinese and Italians coming from China do it (anyway),” he claimed.

READ ALSO: Is the EU likely to reinstate Covid travel restrictions?

Italy was the first European country to make testing on arrival a requirement for passengers arriving on flights from China last week, after a surge in the infection rate there.

Italian Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said on Wednesday that the screening requirement was “essential to ensure the surveillance and identification of any variants of the virus in order to protect the Italian population”.

READ ALSO: Italy pushes for EU-wide China Covid measures as tests show no new variants

France and Spain have since introduced similar rules (as well as non-EU countries including the UK and USA) and there is now a meeting scheduled for Wednesday of the EU Integrated Policy Response Capability to discuss coordinating measures.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said the screening policy would be “ineffective” if not done on a European level, as only people arriving on direct flights from China were being tested in Italy, not those with stopovers.

But the Chinese government on Tuesday hit out at countries introducing a policy of mandatory testing for people arriving from China.

“Some countries have taken entry restrictions targeting only Chinese travellers,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning was quoted as saying at a briefing by AFP.

“This lacks scientific basis and some practices are unacceptable”.

She said Beijing may “take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity”.