Minister: compulsory vaccination not necessary in Italy

Slovenian epidemiologists working at the National Institute of Public Health have unanimously rejected mandatory vaccination against COVID-19. [EPA-EFE / GIUSEPPE LAMI]

It is unnecessary to make  COVID-19 vaccine mandatory in Italy, Public Administration Minister Renato Brunetta said on Sunday, adding that the current measures have led to increased vaccination rates. He added that the spread of the virus is being managed better than in some other European countries.

“Compulsory vaccination is not necessary at the moment, we are better off than others,” Public Administration Minister Renato Brunetta told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Sunday.

The country will adopt some restrictive measures for the unvaccinated from Monday.

Italy will introduce the so-called ‘Super COVID Pass’. In certain Italian regions, where cases are exceptionally high, unvaccinated people can go out only for essential reasons, and with a negative test done within 48 hours. For other activities, like going to restaurants or gyms, people need to be vaccinated or have a recovery certificate.

“Merkel said, ‘I would feel better if we were in a situation like Italy’s’. If we are in this situation, it is thanks to the Italians and to the Draghi government,” Brunetta said in reference to the government’s choice to make the COVID pass compulsory for work in mid-October and then to introduce the “Super COVID pass”.

Compulsory vaccination is the wrong strategy because “putting in place a decision that doesn’t improve performance, produces fines that probably wouldn’t be paid, and incites the unvaccinated fringes to anger, serves no purpose,” he added.

These choices, explained Brunetta, will make it easier to avoid a lockdown for Christmas. “With the Super COVID Pass, we will have a totally open Christmas,” he said.

Italy’s vaccination rate is increasing rapidly, with more people getting their first dose – which will also be available for children between 5-11 from 16 December. The number of boosters administered – available for every adult in the country – has also increased, with 14,45% of the total population having got their booster shot as of Sunday.

“It is only thanks to the announcement effect that many ‘no vax’ people have been convinced. The bookings for first doses have more than doubled, with a 44% increase in the last week,” Brunetta added.

(Eleonora Vasques | EURACTIV.com)

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