Italy ends ban on health workers not vaccinated against Covid

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A woman receives a dose of the vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a Red Cross vaccination center at Termini central train station in Rome, Italy, on the day Italy introduces stricter rules on the unvaccinated January 10, 2022 REUTERS /Guglielmo Mangiapane/ File Photo

MILAN: Italian doctors and nurses who are suspended from work for not being vaccinated against Covid-19 will soon be reinstated, new health minister Orazio Schillaci said on Friday.

The move is being motivated by a worrying shortage of medical staff along with declining cases of Covid-19. The new government will also lift the fines imposed on anyone over 50 who has not been vaccinated, he added.

“A measure is being finalized that will allow for the reintegration into service of health workers subject to a suspension procedure for failure to vaccinate before the suspension expiration date,” he said in a statement published on the ministry’s website.

Italy has been one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, with nearly 179,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Former Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government introduced mandatory vaccinations for teachers and health workers in 2021 and extended it to everyone over 50 in January this year.

A refusal resulted in unpaid suspension of work for public servants, while those over 50 faced fines of 100 euros ($99.5).

The statement added that the minister considered a gradual return to normality appropriate and would suspend the daily release of data on the spread of the epidemic, hospitalizations and deaths. The information will now be published weekly.

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