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Italy's covid vaccine mandate for over-50s in force from 15 February

Italy's unvaccinated workers aged over 50 will be suspended without pay from 15 February.

Italy's public and private sector workers aged 50 or over are obliged to have a "Super" Green Pass to enter their workplace from 15 February, under the government's compulsory vaccination order.

The controversial vaccine mandate applies to all over-50s resident in Italy, including foreign nationals, freelance workers and the unemployed, and will be in place until at least 15 June.

Workers who fail to present a Super Green Pass will be suspended and have their salary frozen.

The Super Green Pass is a "reinforced" version of the "basic" Green Pass and can only be obtained by those who have been vaccinated or recovered from covid-19.

It is required to enter restaurants, bars, cinemas, theatres, concerts, night clubs, sports stadiums and public transport.

Italy's deputy health minister Andrea Costa on Sunday told Radio RTL that the Super Green Pass rules for the over-50s are likely to remain in place even after their scheduled expiry date of 15 June.

"We must try in every way to reduce the number of unvaccinated people" - Costa said - "Those who mainly occupy intensive care units are unvaccinated and we cannot allow it because we must give hospitals the opportunity to continue with ordinary activities."

Costa stated: "We must be strict about the obligation of the Super Green Pass for the over 50s, even going beyond the deadline of 15 June. We are convinced of the choice made and we must absolutely stick with it."

Last week the government lifted the outdoor mask mandate and relaxed some covid restrictions, with Costa saying he could forsee "a gradual softening" of the Super Green Pass rules in March.

However the Italian government is sticking to its hard-line approach to the unvaccinated who are barred from accessing most activities and services, with the exception of supermarkets, food shops, pharmacies and fuel stores.

Justifying the over-50s vaccine mandate in January, prime minister Mario Draghi singled out the unvaccinated as being responsible for "most of the problems" facing Italy in its fight against covid-19.

The new rules for workers aged 50 or upwards are similar to the those in place since 15 October for Italy's 23 million workers who are required to have the basic Green Pass (obtainable by a negative covid test).

From Tuesday, employees over 50 without the Super Green Pass will not be permitted to enter their workplace, with every day they miss as a result regarded as "unjustified" absence.

After five days off work, employees will be suspended and have their pay frozen, with the time off not counted for pension contributions or accrued for holidays.

Fines for going to work without a Super Green Pass range from €600 to €1,500 however nobody can be fired for not having the vaccine certificate.

Compulsory vaccination already applies to Italy's healthcare workers, police, teachers, the military and university staff.

Difference between Green Pass and Super Green Pass

The Super Green Pass is a "reinforced" version of the "basic" Green Pass and can only be obtained by those who have been vaccinated or recovered from covid-19. 

The Green Pass shows that people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19.

It is required to enter hairdressers, beauticians, banks, post offices, tobacconists, non-essential shops and public offices.

More than 88 per cent of Italy's population over the age of 12 has been vaccinated and 35 million people have received a third dose.

For official information about the covid-19 situation in Italy (in English) see the health ministry website. Photo SkyTG24

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