Rome: Italy is to give a third dose of the covid-19 vaccine, or ‘booster’ shot, to the over-60s and people who are frail, the health ministry announced.
The decision was taken after the green light from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which said that the booster could be given to people aged over 60 and anyone considered frail, regardless of their age, provided that at least six months have passed since they completed their primary vaccination cycle.
Italy to start giving third dose of covid vaccine
The news comes after Italy began administering the third covid vaccine dose in late September to the most vulnerable people, such as cancer patients and transplant recipients, those aged over 80 and residents/staff of nursing homes.
The decision to expand the vaccine campaign came the same day that the government announced there are still around 8.4 million people in Italy (15 per cent of the vaccinable population aged over 12) who have yet to receive even the first covid shot.
This data, presented by Italy’s coronavirus commissioner General Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, shows that there are 2.9 million unvaccinated people aged 50 or over; 3.9 million unvaccinated in the 20-49 age group; and 1.4 million unvaccinated aged 12-19.
There are, however, 43 million people in Italy fully vaccinated, and covid hospitalisations have been declining steadily since early summer.
Addressing the B20 International Business Summit on Friday, Italian premier Mario Draghi said that – thanks to vaccines – the end of the pandemic is now in sight.
From next week Italy will require all workers to have a Green Pass, a certificate showing that people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19.
The move, which will take effect from 15 October, will be mandatory in the workplace, for employees in both the public and private sectors.
Meanwhile the government approved a decree on Thursday to further open up venues in the world of culture, sport and nightlife, with effect from Monday 11 October.
Cinemas and theatres in Italy will be permitted to fill all their seats, while stadiums and sports facilities can operate at 75 per cent outdoors and 60 per cent indoors.
Italy’s nightclubs, discos and dance halls can finally reopen on 11 October, after a closure of more than a year and a half, with a maximum capacity of 50 per cent indoors and 75 per cent outdoors.