Italy rules out making COVID vaccine obligatory - PM

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ROME (Reuters) - Italy will not make COVID vaccinations obligatory, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday, adding he was confident there would be a large-scale demand for the shots among Italians on a voluntary basis.

“We are not considering (making it mandatory), we rule it out,” Conte told reporters at his year-end news conference.

Separately, Conte said Italy must hurry up in presenting its national recovery plan to access some 209 billion euros ($256.55 billion) from a EU fund designed to help the bloc’s economies worst-hit by the pandemic.

The ruling coalition has been bogged down in dispute over how the money should be managed and invested, with the tiny

Italia Viva led by former premier Matteo Renzi party frequently threatening to bring down the government.

Conte said the government would finalise and present its plan by February.

($1 = 0.8147 euros)

Reporting by Angelo Amante, editing by Gavin Jones