Italy toughens vaccination rules, mandates jab for those over 50

WION Web Team
Rome, Italy Published: Jan 06, 2022, 07:27 AM(IST)

Under the new decree, people over 50 who do not work must be vaccinated, and those who do work must obtain a vaccine pass. This effectively covers everyone over 50. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The measure will be effective from February 15 and will last until June 15, and for those who flout the rule, it was unclear what punishment would be meted out

In a bid to combat the spread of infection, Italy's government announced Wednesday that vaccinations against COVID-19 would be mandatory for those over the age of 50 as of February 15.

The measure will last until June 15, and for those who flout the rule, it was unclear what punishment would be meted out.

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Speaking during a cabinet meeting, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said, "we want to slow down the curve of contagion and encourage Italians who have not yet been vaccinated to do so."  

"We are working in particular on the age groups that are most at risk of being hospitalised, to reduce pressure on hospital to save lives," he added. The measure was adopted during the cabinet meeting.

Under the new decree, people over 50 who do not work must be vaccinated, and those who do work must obtain a vaccine pass. This effectively covers everyone over 50.

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The government stated in another statement that "the vaccine pass will be necessary for people over 50 in the public and private sectors to access their workplace from February 15."

Among Italy's 59 million residents, 28 million are over the age of 50, according to the national statistics agency Istat.

Last month, the government announced that from January 10, vaccination passes would be required for public transportation and access to hotels, restaurant terraces, and gyms.

Prior to this, a health pass showing proof of vaccination or alternatively a recent negative test had been required.

Italy, like much of Western Europe, has seen its Covid cases surge in recent days, up from more than 170,000 on Tuesday to 189,109 on Wednesday. 

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During the last two weeks, it has recorded more than 150 deaths a day, including 231 on Wednesday and 259 on Tuesday. As many as 189,109 new infections were reported on Wednesday, the highest number since the outbreak began.

Europe's first victim of the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020, Italy has seen more than 138,000 deaths since the outbreak began in February 2020 - the second-highest toll in Europe, after Britain.

According to Our World in Data, 74 per cent of Italians have received two or more vaccinations, and 6 per cent have had just one. An estimated 35 per cent have received a third "booster" shot.

(With inputs from agencies)

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