MILAN (Reuters) – Italian doctors and nurses suspended from work because they are not vaccinated against Covid-19 will soon be reinstated, new Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said on Friday.
The move is motivated by a worrying shortage of medical personnel together with declining cases of Covid-19. The new government will also cancel fines imposed on all people aged over 50 who had not got vaccinated, he added.
“A measure is being finalised that will allow the reintegration into service of health staff subject to suspension proceedings for non-compliance with compulsory vaccination before the expiry date of the suspension,” he said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.
Italy has been one of the country’s hardest hit by the pandemic, with almost 179,000 deaths, according to World Health Organization figures.
Former prime minister Mario Draghi’s government had made vaccination mandatory for teachers and health workers in 2021 and extended that to everyone over 50 in January this year.
A refusal resulted in suspension from work without pay for public employees, while those aged over 50 faced fines of 100 euros ($99.5).
The statement added that the minister considers a gradual return to normality to be appropriate and would suspend the daily publication of data on the spread of the epidemic, hospitalisations and deaths. The information will now be released on a weekly basis. ($1 = 1.0049 euros)
(Reporting by Emilio Parodi; Editing by Keith Weir)