On 1 April 2021, Decree no. 44/2021 came into force. This decree makes COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for healthcare and pharmacy workers. This includes those who carry out their activities in public and private healthcare, social care and social assistance facilities, pharmacies, parapharmacies and professional practices.

If a worker is not vaccinated, the local Health Authority (“ASL”) shall immediately inform their employer and the professional association to which they belong. The employer is then required to suspend the worker from any activity involving interpersonal contacts or where they are at risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. The professional association is also required to immediately suspend the member.

The employer may not dismiss the non-vaccinated worker but must, where possible, assign them to tasks where they are not at risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus even if they are tasks normally carried out by a less qualified position, (in this case a reduction in pay is also possible). When assignment to different tasks is not possible, the worker may be suspended without pay for the entire period. The suspension will remain in force until the vaccination obligation is fulfilled and, in any case, no later than 31 December 2021.

Only those for whom the vaccination would danger their health, as certified by a doctor of the national health service, are exempt from the obligation.