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Saturday, June 03 2023

Italy mulls compulsory Covid vaccination, extends Green Pass use

Covid surge wearing US out in multiple sectors
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Rome: Italy will start administering a third Covid-19 vaccine shot to people with the most fragile immune systems and plans to extend the use of the so-called Green Pass certificate, the country’s leaders said here on Thursday.

The government might also consider making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for everyone.

Following the first cabinet meeting after the summer break, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said during a joint press conference with several ministers that 80 per cent of the country’s population would be fully immunised by the end of September, Xinhua news agency reported.

“This is, of course, reassuring in terms of both economic recovery and school reopening,” Draghi noted.

As of Thursday, some 70.68 per cent of Italians aged over 12 have received both Covid-19 vaccine doses, according to the Health Ministry.

The cabinet is now inclined to offer a third Covid-19 vaccine dose, starting with “people with the most fragile immune systems,” according to Health Minister Roberto Speranza.

“This will begin in September … in line with the recommendations from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and other European authorities, on which our technical-scientific committee has already issued its (favorable) opinion,” Speranza told reporters.

The government also plans to make the use of the Covid-19 Green Pass mandatory for public venue access.

The Green Pass certificate proves that its holder has received at least one vaccine dose, or is fully vaccinated, or has previously contracted the infection and is still immunized, or has tested negative.

The use of the Green Pass is currently mandatory in Italy for passengers on long-distance public transport (trains, planes and ferries); seated customers in restaurants and bars indoors; and visitors to facilities such as public libraries.

Teachers, students and staff in the country’s schools and universities are also obliged to have the Green Pass since September 1.

“Minister Speranza and I have been discussing this for quite a while now, and we are inclined to extend the Green Pass requirement,” Draghi said.

He said that a full cabinet meeting will be called to identify the sectors where this new requirement would specifically apply.

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