Italy forces anyone over 50 to get a COVID shot
Italy’s government on Wednesday approved a measure requiring people over the age of 50 to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, as the country grapples with near-daily new records of new infections fueled by the Omicron variant.
Earlier today, 189,000 new infections were confirmed in the country of some 59 million people.
“We want to curb the growth of the contagion curve and push Italians who are still not vaccinated to do so,” Prime Minister Mario Draghi, quoted by an official in his office, told his ministers during a meeting. of the Cabinet on Wednesday evening. .
The Cabinet voted unanimously to impose the mandate, which Public Administration Minister Renato Brunetta said puts Italy at the forefront in Europe in cracking down on those who refuse to be vaccinated and who now make up the majority of patients in Italy’s fast-filling intensive care beds.
Some 78% of Italy’s population is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, which can cause COVID-19. So far, around 36% have received a booster shot, which experts say is a crucial tool in reducing the possibility of an infection requiring intensive care or being fatal.
Draghi said the decision to require the elderly to be vaccinated was made out of concern they were at higher risk of hospitalization and “to reduce pressure on hospitals and save lives”.
It was not immediately announced what punishment, if any, unvaccinated seniors could face. But Health Minister Roberto Speranza also told reporters that anyone aged 50 or over would be checked to see if they had a “super green pass” before entering their workplace. This certification is reserved for people who are fully vaccinated or who have recently recovered from COVID-19.
The workplace requirement for older workers in the public and private sectors comes into effect on February 15. This date would presumably allow time for workers to get fully vaccinated if they are not now.
The Cabinet has also decreed that everyone working in universities must be vaccinated, regardless of age. Currently, vaccination is mandatory for teachers, health workers, members of the armed forces and police, regardless of age.
A requirement was also passed that anyone working or obtaining services from beauty salons and similar establishments must have a negative viral test if they are not vaccinated or have not recently recovered from COVID-19. The same rule will apply to shops in shopping centers and to banks and post offices. Those who work or frequent pharmacies or grocery stores will be exempt.