Italy: Fresh pandemic woes for those jabbed with ‘wrong’ vaccines

When Duccio Armenise, an Italian, decided to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in Russia, the only jab he could receive was Sputnik.

“We were in the middle of an outbreak, and I had seen what COVID had done to a few friends, so I was really scared,” he told Al Jazeera. “I didn’t want to face COVID without antibodies, so I got the shots.”

He expected some problems once he returned to Italy, since Sputnik was not in use in the European Union, “but I was confident that by the time I came back they would be solved.”

But months later, Sputnik is yet to receive approval from the World Health Organization (WHO), it is still being evaluated by the European Union, and Italy will not hand out a Green Pass to anyone who got the Russian shot.

Now in Italy, without the vaccine pass, Armenise cannot enter work offices, the coffee shops and restaurants where he used to hold meetings, and the swimming pools that help him treat his chronic pain.


Because of health risks, he cannot get injected again with an approved vaccine and the two options available to him are out of his reach.

He could get tested for COVID every three days to receive a Green Pass, but he would have to pay 15 euros ($17) for each test – a cost of 150 euros (174 euros) a month.

Or he could get the pass if he became infected with COVID and recovered.

“There is still no timeline, nor guidelines, for people in my situation,” he said.