The de facto ban on work for unvaccinated people over the age of 50, which comes into force this Tuesday, has once again fueled the debate in Italy about general vaccination requirements.

Since January 8th, all persons who have reached the age of 50 or who will have reached this age by the end of the age-related general vaccination obligation on June 15th have to be vaccinated.

In addition, from February 15, the regulation applies that people over 50 years of age may only come to their workplace if they have recovered or been vaccinated in accordance with the 2G rule;

a negative test is no longer sufficient.

Since February 1, people over the age of 50 who do not have a full vaccination protection - with two or three doses, depending on the date of the administration of the first vaccination dose - face a fine of 100 euros.

Significantly higher than the general fine for unvaccinated people over 50 years of age are the penalties for people in this age cohort if they go to their workplaces from this Tuesday without the so-called Super Green Pass (proof according to the 2G rule).

Employees face fines of between 600 and 1,500 euros for the first violation, and they are also suspended from work without paying salary or social security contributions.

However, dismissals may not be pronounced for violating the vaccination requirement.

Employers who do not comply with their control obligation must expect penalties of between 400 and 1000 euros.

Ban on work for half a million unvaccinated people?

It is disputed whether the introduction of age-related compulsory vaccination has led to the desired result.

Around 650,000 people over the age of 50 have been vaccinated since the introduction of compulsory vaccination a good five weeks ago.

1.5 million people in this age cohort remain unvaccinated.

This means that only 30 percent of the unvaccinated people in this age group have finally been vaccinated since the introduction of compulsory vaccination.

The relative proportion of "hard" vaccination refusers in the age group between 50 and 59 years is even higher.

The absolute number of people affected by the work ban from February 15 is estimated at a good half a million.

In total, there are 8.8 million workers and employees over the age of 50 in Italy.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza defended the introduction of age-related vaccinations on RAI on Sunday evening as “the right and courageous step”.

Even if the number of infections and especially hospitalizations has been falling significantly across the country for a good two weeks, one must “continue to be careful,” warned the minister.

Speranza attributed the abatement of the recent wave of the pandemic solely to the success of the vaccination.

"91 percent of all Italians over the age of twelve have been vaccinated at least once," emphasized the minister, but at the same time conceded that more people had been infected in the past month and a half than at any time since the beginning of the pandemic around two years ago .

Business people argue against the ban on working for those over fifty without proof of vaccination or recovery that the workers who are to be suspended cannot be easily replaced.

In addition, the control of the vaccination status of employees over 50, which is the responsibility of the company, is associated with considerable costs.