Also better with the vaccination register: How Italy’s compulsory vaccination works

Also better with the vaccination register
How Italy’s mandatory vaccination works

By Udo Gümpel, Rome

In Italy there has been a compulsory vaccination for medical clinic staff since May 2021, from February 1 it will apply to everyone over 50. This is enforceable because the country set up a vaccination register at the beginning of the pandemic.

From the outside, Germany is sometimes a strange country. In the pandemic, the Federal Republic has distinguished itself above all as the world champion in self-destruct. The most recent example: The dispute over a national vaccination register, which, as is well known, does not yet exist. Without a vaccination register, however, the mandatory vaccination planned by the federal government can hardly be effectively monitored.

Once again Italy is doing better. There has long been a national vaccination register here, since vaccinations began in early 2021. And it works smoothly.

The Italians pay no less attention to data protection than the Germans, especially when it comes to financial matters. Because data protection was often used in the past to avoid any taxes, or better said: to evade. For decades, Italy was the country of record tax evasion in an EU comparison.

That has long since changed. When the government in Rome asked how a vaccination register should be set up, it was immediately clear: only the state agency SOGEI, which has already successfully organized the fight against tax evasion, can do this. Most Italians are completely unfamiliar with the company owned by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, but it is at the heart of modern Italy. Since June 17, 2021, SOGEI has been collecting data on vaccinations, illnesses, recoveries and tests centrally.

“Green Pass” with the tax number

The headquarters of SOGEI is on the outskirts of Rome behind high walls. The building houses a gigantic data center with several underground floors. The tax data of all citizens of Italy is stored there. Since the introduction of the electronic tax return a few years ago, Italian government revenues have increased significantly. A good 20 billion euros in incorrect invoices were immediately withdrawn from circulation and 6 billion euros more in taxes was collected – every year.

SOGEI now also manages the corona files and the control software. The amount of data is impressive. 190 million Covid-19 certificates, called “Green Passes” in Italy, have been issued so far, of which 103 million after vaccinations and 87 million after test results or recovery.

It works like this: The vaccination – or the proven recovery – is entered by authorized medical personnel on a protected electronic form that is linked to the regional vaccination register. From there it goes on to the national register and finally to the national platform PNFGC at SOGEI. Within a maximum of 24 hours, those who have been vaccinated or recovered will receive a link to the national health portal on which they must identify themselves with the tax number and the number of the national health card. Both numbers are only assigned once at birth or registration, so they clearly identify a person.

Unvaccinated people have to stay outside

From the beginning, the Italian system has been linked to the European “Digital Covid Certificate” system. Italian users can therefore download their certificate to their mobile phone in three European languages ​​or print them out as a PDF. In order to prevent misuse, everyone must register with the portal using an electronic identity or the new CIE electronic identity card. Incidentally, in Italy the tickets hardly ever come by registered mail, but land in the mailbox of the digital identity.

People who have neither a mobile phone nor an email address can have the “Green Pass” sent to an identified supervisor, who then prints out the certificate. If you don’t have a vaccination certificate with a QR code, you have to stand with the unvaccinated, who are practically in permanent lockdown in Italy.

Unvaccinated people who were able to test themselves to visit shops, leisure facilities or shopping centers until the end of 2021 must now stay outside. From February 1, they are no longer even allowed to sit in the outdoor dining area or visit the hairdresser. They are only allowed to go shopping, to the pharmacy and to the doctor. Everything strictly with FFP2 mask. Anyone wishing to enter a post office or an office must have a rapid test or a PCR test. A mini “Green Pass” is available for this, valid for one or a maximum of two days.

Without a vaccination register there is no real compulsory vaccination

The report of a positive test result is of course also sent directly to the SOGEI computers, which of course also manage the Italian Corona warning app “Immuni”. After a positive test, the validity of the “Green Pass” expires until a negative test restores the vaccination status. Vaccination fraud is possible in this system, but much more difficult than in analogue Germany. Most of the fraudsters are members of the medical professions who missed a fake vaccination against a few hundred euros against vaccine opponents, then entered the data with the real batch numbers in the system and threw the vaccine away. Some have already been caught using SOGEI control software that checks the individual reports from doctors and vaccination centers.

The German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said last week at ntv that a vaccination requirement is also possible without a vaccination register. But the comparison he drew showed that real control would be almost impossible to achieve. “We also do the same with 3G in public transport, for example,” said Buschmann. “We don’t have a register there that everyone has to enter when taking the bus.”

In Italy there has been a compulsory vaccination for medical staff at hospitals since May 2021, and since last autumn also for employees of care facilities, school and university staff. From February 1st, all Italian residents over 50 years of age must be vaccinated.

Of course, the SOGEI is in control of this: the list of those who refused to be vaccinated appears at the push of a button. The penalty for refusing to attend without a medical reason is 100 to 1500 euros. The money is collected directly by the police or offset via the tax return. Nobody comes from that.

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