The Health passport will be mandatory in Italy from Friday for all workers in the public and private sectors, a measure that aims to stimulate the vaccination campaign and that comes up against criticism from millions of employees.
Italy, the first European country affected by the coronavirus epidemic in February 2020, paid a heavy price with more than 130,000 deaths.
Behind the black year vaccination campaign It started in December and now more than 80% of people over 12 years of age are fully vaccinated (85% if those with the first dose are added).
- The vaccine is mandatory for the health personnel and the so-called “COVID passport” is required of teachers.
Measures against COVID are not enough
But for the government led by Mario Draghi, those measures are not enough to guarantee a high level of immunity and prevent new outbreaks that could affect economic activity, as happened in 2020 and early 2021.
To encourage vaccination, the government announced a month ago, with the support of the coalition parties, the obligation to present the health passport from October 15 to access workplaces.
Employees who refuse to comply with the measure risk having their salary suspended and receiving a fine if they enter the workplace without the document.
They also cannot choose to work from home. For their part, employers who avoid controlling also face fines.
Introduced in August to access trains, museums and restaurants, among others, the health passport includes a vaccination certificate or proof of recovery after contracting COVID-19 or a negative test performed in the last 48 hours.
Health passport: between the strike and the test
The move sparked violent protests on Saturday in Rome, where thousands of people, including far-right activists, devastated the headquarters of the country’s largest union, the CGIL and they stormed the emergency room of a hospital in the capital.
Some workers have threatened strikes and even the blockade ports if the measure is not lifted.
“We have no other alternatives, the strike or the test, otherwise they suspend us.”
Davide, a technician from Verona (north), of the anti-vaccine movement.
Also in the group was Stefano, a Como employee (north), who confessed that he is willing to pay 15 euros for the test that he will have to carry out three times a week.
“I personally am going to do the test. I have to pay to work, it’s absurd! ”He cried.
Figures of work in Italy
According to an estimate by the Ministry of Public Function, about 250 thousand people of the approximately 3.2 million state employees are not vaccinated, which is equivalent to 7.8%.
In the private sector, the figure reaches 2.2 million people out of 14.6 million, 15%, which represents a challenge as of October 15 for the economic recovery of the country after 2020, when the GDP of the peninsula collapsed from 8.9%.
Luca Zaia, president of the wealthy northern Veneto region, warned of the “chaos” it can cause to Italian companies implementing the measure from October 15.
“We cannot guarantee to all those who have not been vaccinated to carry out a test every 48 hours. The contractors I speak to are very concerned. “, he warned.
Compulsory vaccination and health passport?
The largest organization of industrialists, Confindustria, strongly supports the government decision and rejects “blackmail” of some sectors of workers.
For Maurizio Stirpe, vice president of Confindustria, “there is no reason to pay the test to those who do not want to be vaccinated, people must take their decisions,” he said.
Forza Italia, Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right party, and the center-left Democratic Party are in change in favor of the vaccine being mandatory, a measure that the government has rejected for the moment, especially due to the opposition of the far-right League of Matteo Salvini, a member of the national coalition, which threatens break with their allies.
The measure for now it will be in force until the end of the year.