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Italian Government Enforces New Vaccine Mandate: Italian residents over 50 years old face vaccine regulations to control rising COVID-19 numbers.

As Italy struggles with rising cases of the Omicron variant, the Italian government approved a mandate that requires the vaccination of people who are 50 years or older. On Jan. 5, this mandate was formally approved and publicized to the residents of Italy. Roughly 78-percent of Italy’s population are entirely vaccinated with 36-percent having attained the booster shot. Italy aims to raise these percentages with the goal of prioritizing the safety of healthcare staff and Italian citizens. 

During a Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Mario Draghi explained that this decision was based on concerns surrounding the higher risks of hospitalization for older individuals who are unvaccinated. This decision aimed to “reduce the pressure on hospitals and save lives,” Draghi stated. 

Draghi’s politically diverse Cabinet counterparts held different viewpoints on the matter; however, the decree achieved approval within a nearly three hour meeting. Right-wing members argued that the mandate was being passed “without scientific foundation, considering that the absolute majority of those hospitalized with COVID are well over 60,” Reuters explained.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza informed reporters that individuals who are 50 years or older will receive a “super green pass” prior to entering their workplaces. The “super green pass” is given to people who are vaccinated or who have newly recovered from COVID-19. “Refusal results in suspension from work without pay, but not dismissal,” Reuters stated. This workplace precondition for workers in both private and public sectors will go into effect on Feb. 15. 

The Cabinet additionally declared that individuals working in university settings are required to be vaccinated regardless of their age. Individuals obtaining services in beauty parlors and establishments alike must have a negative COVID-19 test if they are not vaccinated or have not newly recovered from the virus. This regulation also applies to shopping mall stores, post offices, and banks. 

Sources: The Associated Press, Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Man receives Moderna vaccine at the Music Auditorium in Rome, Italy.

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