MILAN (Reuters) – Almost 99% people who have died of COVID-19 in Italy since February this year were not fully vaccinated, the National Health Institute (ISS) said on Tuesday.
The study, contained in a regular report on COVID-19 deaths released by the public health body, added that the few fully vaccinated people who died of COVID were also significantly older than those who died without full vaccination, at 88.6 years of age versus 80.
They also had more underlying health problems before contracting the virus.
Italy last week followed France in announcing that proof of vaccination or immunity from COVID-19 would shortly be mandatory for an array of activities, including indoor dining and entering places such as gyms, pools, museums and cinemas.
Since the announcement, Italian authorities have recorded a marked pick-up in vaccination bookings. To date, almost 57% of the population over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated.
Italy reported 24 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday against 22 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 4,522 from 3,117.
From Feb. 1 to July 21, there were 423 COVID deaths among fully vaccinated people, representing 1.2% of the total of 35,776 COVID deaths, the Institute said in a statement.
Italy’s vaccination campaign began around the start of this year, so by the start of the study the first people to be vaccinated could have completed their two-jab vaccination using the Pfizer or Moderna brands.
Studying the medical records of 70 of the 423 fully vaccinated people who have died of COVID, the ISS said their average number of underlying illnesses was 5.0, compared with 3.7 for COVID deaths among people not fully vaccinated.
(Reporting by Emilio Parodi, editing by Gavin Jones and Barbara Lewis)