August 5, 2021

In Italy, the vaccination obligation of nursing staff is not the subject of debate

Calabria was the first region to crack down, and the “victims” are sixteen: Thursday, June 24, fifteen health workers from the province of Reggio Calabria and a veterinarian from that of Catanzaro (also in Calabria) were suspended from their duties until December 31 due to their refusal to undergo vaccination. Their salary will no longer be paid to them until that date, unless they change their mind.

For Gianluigi Scaffidi, the extraordinary commissioner in charge of the health authority of Reggio Calabria – usually in Italy, the field of health is the responsibility of the regions but Calabria has been under state tutelage since 2010 due of suspicions of corruption and mafia infiltration – this decision is a simple measure of common sense: “We cannot ask the entire population to be vaccinated and allow caregivers to avoid this social duty. “ ” In accordance with the law, specifies the extraordinary auditor, we started with formal notices, inviting them to be vaccinated. Some responded to the request and immediately submitted to the vaccine. But others continued to pretend nothing… ”

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No planned layoffs

These administrative decisions, which are unheard of in Italy, were made possible by Decree No. 44, taken on April 1, and entered into force on 1is June, which introduces a vaccination obligation “For health personnel and operators exercising their activity in public and private health and social health structures, in pharmacies, drugstores and other premises”.

Decree No. 44 provides that those resistant to vaccination will begin by receiving formal notices. If they still refuse vaccination, they could be assigned – if possible – to other functions without contact with the public. And it is only as a last resort that they can be automatically placed on unpaid leave until December 31 (theoretical term of the decree). On the other hand, the possibility of making redundancies is not foreseen.

So the Italian government wants to continue to rely on incentives rather than coercion and open conflict. In addition, the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, recalled on several occasions that the government did not intend to extend this obligation to the entire population, and would remain reserved for health personnel and the like.

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