Italy tops 1M people vaccinated for COVID-19

Italy on Friday topped one million people vaccinated against COVID-19, becoming the country with the highest number of first doses administered in the European Union, Anadolu Agency reports.

According to the latest official data, out of nearly 1.46 million doses of vaccine delivered across Italy, some 66% have already been injected.

“Italy is first in the EU for the number of people vaccinated. This is encouraging data. Let’s continue like this, keeping our guard high,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tweeted on Friday.

The vaccination campaign, which started at the end of December, is prioritizing medical workers and nursing home staff and residents. Then it will target Italians over 80, and Italian health authorities hope it would be able to cover the whole Italian population by fall.

Despite the acceleration in vaccine distribution, Italy is still struggling to keep a resurgence in the outbreak under control.

On Friday, the country reported 477 new coronavirus-related deaths, down from 522 a day before.

The Health Ministry also reported 16,146 new daily infections, down from 17,246 a day earlier.

The premier signed a new emergency decree that extended to early March – and in some areas tightened – the anti-COVID measures, in a bid to reverse the recent acceleration in the infection rate.

Starting Sunday, three-quarters of the Italian territory will be classified as medium-risk “orange” areas or high-risk “red” zones.

Amid the health emergency, the Conte government also has to solve a political crisis, with the premier due to face two key confidence votes in parliament next week that will determine his political survival.


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