Italy to start giving third dose of covid vaccine

Rome: Italy is to start giving a third dose of covid-19 vaccines later this month to people with the most fragile immune systems, such as cancer patients and transplant recipients, health minister Roberto Speranza has confirmed.

The third round of Italy’s vaccination campaign would begin on “the most frail patients” in September, said Speranza, before health authorities decide to continue with the over-80s, nursing home residents and medical workers.

Speranza was speaking to reporters on Monday night at the end of a two-day meeting of G20 health ministers in Rome.

Speranza also said the scope of Italy’s covid Green Pass would “soon be extended” as part of efforts to “strengthen the vaccination campaign.”

The Green Pass is a digital certificate that shows people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19, and is required in Italy for dining indoors in restaurants as well as for long-distance travel and a host of cultural and leisure activities.

The prospect of compulsory vaccination in Italy is also under discussion by the government after premier Mario Draghi confirmed last week that the move is being considered.

Italy’s deputy health minister Pierpaolo Sileri told the Corriere della Sera newspaper on Sunday that mandatory vaccinations must be kept as a “last resort” but warned that there are “3.7 million Italians over 50 who are not yet vaccinated.”

On Tuesday Italy’s coronavirus emergency commissioner General Francesco Figliuolo said that 80 per cent of the population over the age of 12 has received at least one dose of the covid vaccine, putting the country on track to reach its target of 80 per cent fully vaccinated by the end of September.