Friday, November 26

Italy becomes the first western country to impose vaccination on all workers | Society

Italy is already the first country in the Western world that will force its citizens to get vaccinated to go to work or provide services at home, either in private companies or in the public sphere. In reality, employees must have their green certificate in order, which basically certifies the immunization through the vaccine or the performance in the last two days of a test with a negative result. This option, however, is not viable for daily use for professional purposes, which is why the Executive’s impositions are rather a technical formula designed to convince the population to get vaccinated and definitively end resistance. Italy was already a pioneer in Europe by introducing the mandatory vaccination of health workers last April. A few weeks ago, he went one step further and introduced the mandatory use of the covid certificate for teachers as well.

The safe conduct will be mandatory from October 15 for all workers, a sector that covers 23 million people. It does not matter if they are self-employed, if they are home services such as plumbers or carers, if they work in multinationals or are civil servants of the Administration. Only the self-employed who work at home have been exempted. In the case of employees, the worker will be sent home if they do not have the certificate. If you do not present it within five days, your salary will be suspended and you may be fined up to 1,000 euros. The possibility of firing him, which was also on the table, has been ruled out as unconstitutional. It is the employers who must organize themselves by creating some figure that is dedicated to controlling it. Failure to do so will also expose themselves to the same penalties. “This is something that has not been seen anywhere in Europe,” launched the Minister of Public Administrations at a press conference in which those responsible for Justice, Health and Regional Affairs also participated.

Seville / 07-14-2021: Health workers administer the Pfizer vaccine at the vaccination center installed in the Olympic Stadium in Seville.  PHOTO: PACO PUENTES / EL PAIS

Almost half of Spaniards believe that vaccination against covid should be mandatory

The measure, however, transcends Europe and is unmatched in the Western world. The United States imposed an obligation to vaccinate 100 million workers a week ago. These were those employees in companies with a workforce of more than 100 people and federal workers. But in no case was it reached the extreme that Italy will now impose, which will only leave out of that rule those who telework or who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons (in that case, the antigen test carried out, at most, two days before, will do) . In fact, the same decree forces the prices of tests to be lowered: zero euros for those who cannot be vaccinated, eight for minors and 15 for those of legal age, until December 31. The idea of ​​the extension of the certificate is to persuade the anti-vaccines and some three million workers who are undecided about the need to receive the serum.

The covid certificate or green pass, as it is known in Italy, has already become an essential tool for everyday life. It is, in short, a general vaccination obligation for the population. But without resorting to a measure whose constitutionality would be somewhat doubtful and which still generates reluctance among some sectors. “The certificate is an instrument to protect the spaces of freedom that we have conquered with great fatigue,” said after the Council of Ministers the head of Regional Affairs, Maria Stella Gelmini. It is already required to eat inside restaurants, to enter theaters, museums, cinemas and gyms or to travel on long-distance trains. In Italy, about 65% of the 60 million inhabitants of the country have received the complete vaccination schedule and 73% have been immunized with at least one dose. These figures are slightly above the average for the European Union: 60% have the complete regimen, and 66% have at least one dose. The Executive has been gradually extending its uses, not exempt from oppositions. The mere approach of making it mandatory only for public workers has already sparked protests and conflicts with unions these days.

A police officer checks a woman's green certificate at Milan's Porta Garibaldi train station.
A police officer checks a woman’s green certificate at Milan’s Porta Garibaldi train station.Luca Bruno / AP

The main friction within the coalition Executive has occurred with the Matteo Salvini League, which until the last moment remained in doubt about whether it was going to support the measure. Part of his electorate rejects the safe conduct and the idea of ​​compulsory vaccination. But the other half, especially the one that belongs to the old Northern League and is closer to the business world, such as the governors of regions such as Friuli-Venezia Giulia or Veneto, have pressed for it to be accepted.

The concession represents a new defeat for Salvini, especially worrying for his interests when his most radical voters are going en masse towards Hermanos de Italia, the party of the far-right Giorgia Meloni, the only formation that has been left out of the Executive and that now represents sovereign positions more clearly. The requirement of establishment that it moderates its positions contrasts with the lack of a more focused project. And strategic doubts are creating a huge problem for him in the polls.

Draghi has shown in recent months that he is not swayed by the endless noise of Italian politics. An obvious advantage in carrying out the complicated reform agenda that you have designed and reaching the goal of herd immunity in Italy. But some sectors criticize that Parliament has sometimes been silenced by the roller it has applied.

In the Government there has also been discussion between ministers of different parties regarding the cultural halls. The minister of the sector, Dario Franceschini, had requested that the obligation of the green certificate for almost all public activities, including work since October 15, should lead to a return to normal capacity in cultural venues. But the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, has refused and Draghi sided with him. In 15 days, the Government will decide whether to relax distancing measures in meeting places. But organically, not only in cultural halls.

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