Covid Vaccinations Without Reservation & Public Spaces Banned to Anti-Vaxxers

The ‘Green Pass’ gelato at the Morino ice cream shop, Prato

Tuscan governor Eugenio Giani has announced that all residents of Tuscany ages 12 and up may receive a Covid-19 vaccine without a reservation from 8 am to 8 pm starting on Monday, August 30.  For a list of vaccination centers in Tuscany, click here. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent; before receiving a vaccine without an appointment one must show a photo I.D. as well as a health card (tessera sanitaria).   

Reservations will continue to be accepted on the Region of Tuscany’s website, granting precedence with quick, direct access at the centers.  Family doctors and pediatricians are also authorized to give vaccinations to ages 12 – 18 from 10 am to midnight, and the vaccine is available to those over 60 at city-run pharmacies; click here for a list of Florentine pharmacies offering the service.

Since 500,000 people out of an eligible regional population of 3,000,000 still have not received their first jab, the campaign is designed to have as many as possible vaccinated before school starts.  Over 37,000 school age kids have been sent a text message moving up their appointment for a second vaccination to help ward off the possibility that contagions will increase once school starts on September 15.   Beginning on September 30, says Giani, “all public places will be off limits to anti-vaxxers.”  Everyone from that date onward, if requested, will have to display a copy of their “Green Pass” in a public space at any time which attests to having received either the first jab or complete immunization.

From October 1 onwards, theoretically it will difficult for anyone without a “Green Pass” even to walk out outside and enjoy a “Green Pass” gelato from Prato’s Il Morino ice cream shop on via Palermo.  The gelato (pictured), a refreshing blend of lime, rum and mint, is the summer’s hit in Tuscany.

“I will continue to make life difficult for those who refuse to be vaccinated because they are posing a threat to the health of our citizens as well as to the local economy,” said Giani. “They will simply have to stay home.”

As of September 1, teachers, school personnel and college students must have a copy of the ‘Green Pass’ on hand before entering an institute of higher learning after summer vacation; ditto for travelers on planes, high-speed or interregional trains and buses in addition to ferries, while commuters on taking local city buses, trams and regional train lines will be exempt.  The 4,500 health workers not yet vaccinated have received letters suspending them from work.

The Italian Health Ministry has confirmed that travelers to Italy from the U.S., UK, Canada, Japan and Israel, plus visitors from the E.U. or Schengen Zone countries can display a document attesting vaccination issued by their country in lieu of the ‘Green Pass’ (in the case of the U.S., the CDC card) to enter museums, restaurants, theaters, gyms and other locations where the ‘Green Pass’ is required.

As of August 28, 2021, 73% of Tuscan residents over 12 have received at least one dose of vaccine, 60% have gotten both.

Currently, the region ranks third in the country in terms of Covid contagions with a range of 500 to 700 new cases reported each day.  Despite this statistic, Tuscany will continue to remain in the “white zone” due to relatively low occupancy in Covid wards and intensive care.

Since the end of June, Italians have relished in the freedoms of the low risk “white zone.” The spread of a new contagion, however, has brought an increase in COVID-19 cases. Now, some regions, such as Sicily, are at risk of moving back into the yellow zone.

Italy’s state of emergency was further extended from July 31 to December 31. Along with the extension came new zone guidelines.

Previously, the shift into the white zone required a region to register fewer than 50 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for three weeks. These parameters have since changed. Now, the shift of a region from the white zone into the yellow is dependent upon the percentage of patients in hospitals. 

For a region to move into the yellow zone, intensive care must exceed 10% and the ordinary ward must exceed 15%. The occupancy continues to increase for the remaining two zones. Yellow to orange: 20% for intensive care and 30% for ordinary ward. Orange to red: 30% for intensive care and 40% for ordinary ward.   Currently there are 400 patients in Tuscan hospitals, with 5,000 available beds.  Although the number of new Covid cases in the region averages between 500 and 700 daily, there are only 18 patients who are presently hospitalized.  (rosanna cirigliano & rachel pellegrino)

To read more in Italian, visit Florence’s La Repubblica news site.