Italian Populist Leader Salvini Claims Vaccine Not Necessary for Those Under 40

Head of the far-right Lega party and Italian senator, Matteo Salvini addresses the media within a rally of the party in Catania, Sicily, on October 2, 2020 on the eve of Salvini's trial in which he will face charges over allegedly illegally detaining migrants at sea while he was a …

League leader Matteo Salvini has criticised the idea of vaccine passports and said he did not feel younger people needed to be vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus, contradicting the official advice given by the Italian government and the World Health Organisation.

The populist Italian senator stated that it was important that those over the age of 60 get the jab and those 40 to 59 could choose to have it, but under-40s were of less urgent concern for vaccination.

He also commented on the idea of a vaccine passport, known as a “Green Pass”, saying it would be unfair to launch them now as it is taking Italy so long to vaccinate people, many would be disadvantaged, newspaper Il Giornale reports.

“If we want the Green Pass for everyone, at the moment, it would take until the end of October, blowing up the [summer] season and the holidays. That would be devastating. And useless,” Salvini said.

The League leader claimed that in some cases, such as attending concerts of stadiums with thousands of others, a Green Pass — which proves immunity, vaccination status, or a negative test result — may be needed but rejected the idea for taking trains or going to a restaurant.

In a move echoing China’s social credit system, the Italian state-run railway company Trenitalia has considered forcing people to present a Green Pass aboard high-speed trains so it can return capacity to 100 per cent as it is currently limited to 50 per cent.

“We can secure parents and grandparents without punishing grandchildren and children,” Salvini continued and claimed that 85 per cent of coronavirus deaths in Italy had been people over 70. For those under 60, the mortality rate is less than one per cent, he asserted.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the deaths between 10 and 29 years have been 85 — that is to say, 0.1 per cent,” he said.

Salvini’s comments are opposed to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who called on people under the age of 50 to get vaccinated last month noting, “These are the people who get ill, get seriously ill and need to be vaccinated.”

The 73-year-old Italian leader has urged as many Italians as possible to get vaccinated saying, “It is fundamental that people get vaccinated,” and added, “The worst thing you could do is not get vaccinated, or just get one vaccine shot.”

The World Health Organisation also says vaccines are safe for “most people 18 years and older”.

Beatrice Lorenzin, a member of the leftist Democratic Party (PD) and former health minister, criticised Salvini’s comments, saying he and Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni were playing to anti-vaccination elements and putting businesses at risk of another lockdown.

“Let’s get vaccinated and use the Green Pass, swabs, and therapies wisely. In short, let’s manage this virus and let’s not let him manage it,” Lorenzin said.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring France, the government of President Emmanuel Macron has mandated that certain business owners must check for vaccine passports, or they could face €45,000 (£38,487/$53,1000) fines and a year in prison.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.