Oct 15, 2021 - World

Italy begins enforcement of stringent COVID vaccine policy

A No Green Pass protestor in Italy.

A man protests against the vaccine policies in Italy on Friday. Photo: Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

Italy began enforcing one of the world's strictest workplace vaccination policies on Friday, risking protests and worker strikes, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: The policy requires all employees — in both public and private sectors — to have a "Green Pass," which shows workers have proof of vaccination, a negative test or have recently recovered from COVID-19, per AP.

  • Workers that choose to get tested will need a new one every 48 hours.
  • Without a green pass, employees can be suspended without pay, per AP.

The big picture: The scale of the resistance has surprised Italian authorities, the Post reports. Last weekend, about 10,000 people demonstrated against the rules in Rome's Piazza del Popolo, including an extremist group that stormed the headquarters of a major union.

  • The policies sparked anti-vaccination protests in some of Italy's major cities on Friday. Police were out in force and schools planned to end classes early to limit violence, per AP.

Between the lines: Employers and union leaders are worried that the new policy will lead to increased absences, complicating schedules and production, per the Post.

What they're saying: “Freedom is something very important in a democracy, [but] the limit of freedom is when you damage other people," said Roberto Burioni, a professor of microbiology and virology at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, according to the Washington Post.

  • "[We] know for sure that vaccinated people are less infectious, and a vaccinated community will be a lot more resistant to infections," Burioni added according to the Washington Post.
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