A group of migrants along the Domiziana state road in Giugliano in the province of Naples | ANSA/CESARE ABBATE
A group of migrants along the Domiziana state road in Giugliano in the province of Naples | ANSA/CESARE ABBATE

Foreigners without residency papers in the Italian region of Campania can now book vaccination appointments. According to the local health department in Caserta, there are between 25,000 and 35,000 undocumented foreigners to vaccinate.

The Campania region's platform for COVID vaccination reservations has been adjusted to allow for non-resident foreigners to book an appointment. Thus far, these foreigners have been unable to book an appointment, despite the fact that they have a right to healthcare assistance.

The foreigners who will now be able to book a COVID vaccination include:

  • those who have filed for political asylum and are awaiting a response but in the meantime have a temporary Italian tax ID;
  • those whose stay permit has expired or who don't have a stay permit and who declare their domicile in the Caserta area and can request a temporary healthcare card (STP for temporary-stay foreigners) at the local health department;
  • and those who filed for official papers through the summer 2020 "sanatoria" programme to regularise undocumented migrant workers;
  • EU workers without a residence or a workplace who can request an ENI (unregistered Europeans) card are also eligible.

25,000-35,000 undocumented foreigners in Caserta area

The Caserta ASL health department estimates that there are between 25,000 and 35,000 undocumented foreigners to vaccinate in the Caserta area, including seasonal labourers who work mainly in farming, and that the majority live in the area of Castel Volturno.

The Caserta ASL had organised a two-day vaccination drive on Monday and Tuesday for foreigners in which it would have administered the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but it had to suspend the campaign due to the region's decision to no longer administer the Johnson & Johnson and Astra Zeneca vaccines.

ASL Caserta Director General Ferdinando Russo said the health department had planned to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine "because it would have been easier to reach nearly total immunity in the foreign population" since many are foreign labourers and it would have been complicated to have them return for a second dose.

"In order to proceed, we are now waiting on specific indications from the government," he said.

'An extra tool for herd immunity'

In recent days, prior to the vaccination platform update, the Caserta ASL had already started talking to associations that work with migrants, such as Emergency and the Ex Canapificio social centre, which had sent a series of lists, but with few people.

The vaccination platform adjustment will now allow for reaching a large number of undocumented foreigners, many of whom work as unreported home carers, farm workers and construction workers and could fall ill at any time.

"With the adjustment of the regional platform open to the entire population we have an extra tool for reaching herd immunity," said Mimma D'Amico of the Ex Canapificio social centre. "There is also the need for a strong and widespread social and institutional network," D'Amico said.

 

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