Italy extends COVID vaccine mandate to everyone over 50

ROME, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Italy on Wednesday made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for people from the age of 50, one of very few European countries to take a similar steps, in an attempt to ease pressure on its health service and reduce fatalities.

The measure is immediately effective and will run until June 15.

Italy has registered more than 138,000 coronavirus deaths since its outbreak emerged in February 2020, the second highest toll in Europe after Britain.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi's government had already made vaccination mandatory for teachers and health workers, and since October last year all employees have had to be vaccinated or show a negative test before entering the workplace.