When Italy began requiring some businesses to scan a Green Pass to enter, Americans living in military communities entered a unique situation – unable to obtain a Green Pass through the Italian government, they are in the position of explaining how Italian health officials now recognize their U.S. vaccination card as a valid equivalent.
Since Aug. 6, Italy has required proof of vaccination to access many establishments - including indoor dining, gyms, pools, theaters, and stadiums. Local transportation will soon be added. At U.S. Army Garrison Italy, with installations in Vicenza and Livorno, American community members have been turned away from local restaurants and other establishments since the policy began.
“We rely upon goods and services from Italian establishments, as most of our Soldiers and their families live in local Italian communities here in the Veneto and in Tuscany,” said Col. Matthew Gomlak, commander of USAG Italy, from his headquarters at Caserma Ederle in Vicenza. “American service members and their families hope to retain our patronage of Italian businesses.”
More than 75 percent of U.S. personnel at USAG Italy, to include soldiers, civilians and family members have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Many Italian workers were vaccinated on post. Americans carry a COVID-19 vaccination record card, issued by the U.S. Center For Disease Control. In Italy, the CDC card is recognized when entering Italian establishments that require a Green Pass, according to Italian health officials.
The Italian Ministry of Health recently said that “certifications issued by non-EU states,” to include the United States, are accepted in accordance with May 2021 European Union rules. The vaccine certification must have personal identification information, the type of vaccine and the dates of administration. Italy currently accepts these vaccinations; Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen. If the certificate is in English, no translation is required.
"The note of the Ministry of Health made it clear,” said Dr. Mariateresa Padovan, director of the Prevention and Public Health Service of the local health agency ULSS 8 Berica. “To all intents and purposes the vaccination certificate issued by the U.S. authorities is recognized as equivalent to the Green Pass and therefore allows free access to the services for which the European green certificate is required. This applies to military personnel stationed in Italy, but also to any American tourist in Italy. After all, it must be noted that unlike other non-EU countries, the vaccines used by the United States are the same as those authorized in Europe.”
Italian healthcare professionals of ULSS 8 have worked closely with the American medical counterparts from Caserma Ederle throughout the pandemic, from testing and treatment to monitoring and vaccination.
Many Americans at USAG Italy, in Vicenza and Livorno, were vaccinated on post and only carry the CDC record, a small white card that states when they were vaccinated and what type of vaccination they received. Vaccinated Americans must show their CDC card to access the Italian venues that now require the Green Pass. The U.S. military is now working with U.S. Embassy staff and Italian officials to see how CDC cards might be registered for a Green Pass.
Meanwhile, USAG Italy leaders are informing Americans living in Vicenza and Livorno of the requirements via their website and social media. Copies of the Italian Ministry of Health document that validates the CDC card on the garrison website. Americans are encouraged to download a copy and present it to any establishment that is unfamiliar with the Green Pass equivalency.
The concern now is that many Italian businesses, from the local butcher and fruit vendors to chain stores in shopping malls, may be unfamiliar with the CDC card and its recognition by Italian health officials.
“We have great relationships with Italian merchants in our areas. We hope that a mutual understanding of the CDC card as proof of vaccination will continue to allow our personnel to access their establishments and in turn support local business during economic challenges brought on by the pandemic,” Gomlak said. “With some patience and understanding, we will continue to move through these difficult times, together.”
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