Italy: Green Certificate Works
For a week now, everyone working in Italy must be able to prove that they have been vaccinated, are post-ill or have recently been tested. And because the tests are paid for, the readiness for immunizations logically grows.
Eduardo, a 55-year-old bricklayer, has long been unsure whether to get vaccinated against coronavirus. But now he will do so, he says, standing at the entrance to the immunization center next to Rome's Termini station. "I need a green certificate. Where I work, they require it," the man explained.
Vaccination after months of hesitation. Eduardo, who is from Ecuador and has lived in Rome for eight years, is not the only one. Many foreigners working in Italy as domestic helpers, caregivers or builders have lined up in front of the immunization center. From October 15, they must also have a green certificate in order to work. This means that they have been immunized, have been ill or have recently been tested.
Vaccine or test - choose for yourself
The requirement for a green certificate in the workplace is related to the government's desire to further increase readiness for immunization. Following the introduction of the new rules, the number of vaccines given each day has risen by 35 percent, said Italy's chief epidemiologist, Francesco Paolo Filiuolo. Current data show that this level has been maintained.
Unlike Eduardo, 49-year-old Cristiano Mametti does not want to be vaccinated. That's why the taxi driver is standing in front of a pharmacy waiting for a test. "I do it because I have to work. I came before work to get tested for coronavirus," explains Mametti. Every two days, the man comes to the pharmacy, where he takes a test, which costs him 15 euros. The negative result allows him to work for 48 hours.
"It's very expensive - it costs me between 150 and 180 euros a month," says Mametti. It's a big expense to be able to work. Vaccination is free, but for the taxi driver for "personal reasons" it is not an option. As long as the green certificate is valid, he will be tested every two days.
Protests against the new rules have subsided
Across the country, the number of tests has more than quadrupled since the introduction of the green certificate, and on some days more than half a million are taken. The government reports this as a positive effect of the green certificate. The larger number of tests gives a better picture of the infectious situation and as a result means better protection for the population.
But the number of hospitals in Italy has also increased since the introduction of the green certificate. The Corriere della Sera newspaper reported on this phenomenon with the headline: "False diseases of opponents of the green certificate".
Protests against the new rules have meanwhile subsided. Demonstrations continue to take place only in the northern Italian city of Trieste. There, the dockers' union called for new protests.
Italy is among the leaders in vaccinations
Prime Minister Mario Draghi has repeatedly stressed that he continues to support the green certificate. The fact that Italy has been hit hard by the pandemic gives politicians the task of working consistently to prevent a re-emergence of the pandemic, Draghi said. "With 132,000 deaths, our conscience must make us do everything possible and necessary."
So far, Draghi's policies have managed to contain the rise in cases expected in the autumn. The weekly incidence per 100,000 people is currently 35 - one of the lowest in Europe, and the percentage vaccinated among the adult population in Italy is one of the highest - 82 percent.
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