Italian healthcare workers who were suspended from their jobs for not choosing to receive the coronavirus vaccine will soon be reinstated, the country’s health officials said. Fines issued to people who decided against the vaccine will also be canceled.
New Health Minister Orazio Schillaci announced Friday that hospitals were suffering from a shortage of medical personnel and that the decline of coronavirus cases should allow for a “reintegration” of penalized workers suspended under rules of the previous administration.
“A measure is being finalized that will allow the reintegration into service of health staff subject to suspension proceedings for non-compliance with compulsory vaccination before the expiry date of the suspension,” Schillaci said, according to Reuters.
Former prime minister Mario Draghi made compliance with coronavirus restrictions a priority, as the pandemic was particularly deadly in Italy, which included mandatory vaccination orders for teachers and healthcare workers.
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Those who did not comply were suspended from their jobs without pay. Those over the age of 50 who did not get vaccinated were forced to pay a nearly $100 fee.
The suspensions will now be reversed and the fines will be canceled, under Italy’s new prime minister Giorgia Meloni.
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Meloni was sworn into office at a ceremony at the Quirinale Presidential Palace, in Rome, Italy on Oct. 22.
According to the World Health Organization, Italy has almost 179,000 deaths from the pandemic.