Another EU state expands mandatory vaccinations & threatens fines — Analysis
Italy will expand its Covid-19 mandate and require that all citizens over 50 be inoculated or face possible monthly sanctions.
Italy’s government has issued a decree requiring that everyone 50 years old and up be vaccinated against Covid-19, exempting only those who have recently recovered from the virus or who can’t take the shots for medical reasons.
The Council of Ministers unanimously approved the new mandate on Wednesday after weighing various possible measures to reduce the strain on hospitals amid the rapid strain of Covid-19’s Omicron variant. It is in force from February 15th and will continue until June 15.
People who “stubbornly” refuse to comply will face a possible monthly fine of €100, according to Italian media reports. The stiffer penalty comes in addition to €600 to €1,500 fines imposed last year for workers who decline to be immunized. People who’ve previously been infected with Covid-19 will only be exempted, based on their natural immunity, if their bout with the virus occurred within the past six months.
Italy will follow Germany, Austria, and Greece by ordering compulsory vaccinations. Austria’s mandate will apply to all residents over 14 years old starting February, while Germany’s will target all adults. Greece limited its requirement to people 60 and older, and introduced a monthly recurring fine of €100 for those who fail to book their appointment for a first Covid vaccine dose by January 16.
Prior to Mario Draghi becoming Prime Minister, the government imposed vaccination mandates on teachers as well as health care workers. Since last October, all Italian workers have been required to get jabbed or take tests to prove that they aren’t infected before entering their job sites.
For workers 50 and over, Wednesday’s order will remove the option of taking Covid-19 tests in lieu of vaccination.
A third of Italians currently have three doses. Some 20% still need to be vaccinated.