Italy's president says getting covid-19 vaccine a 'duty'

Italian head of state repeats call to get vaccinated.

Italy's president Sergio Mattarella has said that getting vaccinated against covid-19 is a "duty," stating: "Responsibility starts with ourselves."

The president, addressing the annual gathering of the Catholic movement Comunione e Liberazione in Rimini on Friday, reiterated the words of Pope Francis who said recently that getting vaccinated is "an act of love."

Mattarella, who made a similar appeal in July, described vaccines as "the most effective instrument we have at our disposal to defend ourselves and protect the weakest and the most exposed to serious dangers."

The intervention by Mattarella comes as the latest vaccine data released on Friday shows that 12.8 per cent of Italy's teachers and 1.8 per cent of the country's doctors and nurses have not been vaccinated against covid-19, reports news agency ANSA.

In April the Italian government made it obligatory for all healthcare workers to get the vaccine, with those who refuse being reassigned, demoted or suspended without pay.

On Thursday the Siracusa doctors' guild in Sicily suspended 49 unvaccinated medics, reports ANSA, with guild chief Anselmo Madeddu quoted as saying: "The doctor who can but does not get vaccinated is a very bad example for society." 

Green Pass

Earlier this month Italy announced that the covid 'Green Pass' would be mandatory for teachers and school staff, as well as staff and students of universities, from 1 September.

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

It is required to dine indoors in restaurants as well as on long-distance transport and for access to a wide range of cultural and leisure activities.

The government said that school and university employees who fail to comply with the Green Pass measures would face having their employment and pay suspended after five days of  "unjustified" absence from work.

For full details (in Italian) about the Green Pass see the Certificazione Verde website. There is also a helpline tel. 800912491 (open daily 08.00-20.00) and an email address cittadini@dgc.gov.it.

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

Photo ANSA