The recent rise in infections, fueled by the more contagious Delta variant, has given a new sense of urgency to the vaccination program. Almost 40% of the adult population is not yet immunized.
Among Italian politicians who have not yet been vaccinated are Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s largest party, the League, and Georgia Meloni, who leads the far-right Brothers of Italy.
“No political force can be ambiguous about vaccines. The country’s recovery and future depend on the vaccination campaign,” the health minister said in a statement.
Salvini, who has declared vaccination a private matter, has repeatedly told reporters that he is waiting his turn – despite the fact that people his age were entitled to an injection in May.
The issue came to the fore, given the government’s plans to announce later this week that only fully vaccinated people can visit nightclubs, gyms and indoor restaurants. Restrictions on access to trains and domestic flights are also being considered.
France has already introduced similar measures, but Salvini, whose party is in the ruling coalition, said access to restaurants, cafes and transport should not be restricted. Meloni, who is in opposition, condemned the plan, saying it would collapse the tourism sector.
Italy registered 2,072 new cases on Monday, up from 888 a week ago. The growth of infections for the last four weeks is 268%. Only three deaths were reported on Sunday and seven on Monday, the lowest levels since last August.