Italy is requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for persons over 50, making it the latest European nation to take drastic steps to increase uptake and ease the strain on hospitals.
Officials decided to mandate the shots for older persons, who tend to see worse outcomes from COVID-19, amid another surge. Italy was one of the first western nations to be hit hard by the pandemic in early 2020.
“We want to slow down the growth of the contagion curve and push the Italians who have not yet vaccinated themselves to do so,” Prime Minister Mario Draghi said. “We take action in particular on the age groups that are most at risk of hospitalization to reduce the pressure on hospitals and save lives.”
CNN reports violators could be fined between 600 and 1,500 euros under the rule, which is in effect until June 15.
In workplaces, people older than 50 who refuse vaccination could be stripped of pay but wouldn’t be fired.
Roughly 7% of Italians over 50 haven’t received any shots, according to The New York Times.
Italy is the latest country to issue a sweeping mandate.
Austria will make the vaccine mandatory for those 14 and older next month, while Greece said people older than 60 must get vaccinated as of Jan. 16.
For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.