Fact Check: Fully Vaccinated Individuals In Italy Did NOT Burn Their COVID-19 'Green' Certification Passes In Solidarity With Unvaccinated Individuals -- There's No Paper Pass

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Fully Vaccinated Individuals In Italy Did NOT Burn Their COVID-19 'Green' Certification Passes In Solidarity With Unvaccinated Individuals -- There's No Paper Pass Digital Passes

Did individuals in Italy who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 burn their vaccine "passes" in solidarity with unvaccinated individuals? No, that's not true: Italy's COVID-19 "green" certification is a digital pass -- not a green piece of paper -- that grants access to venues and events. A protest in Italy included what appeared to be a symbolic burning of the passes, although it is unclear whether those who participated were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The claim appeared in an Instagram post (archived here) published on August 7, 2021. The post featured a screen recording of a tweet (archived here) that included a video of an informal line of people throwing green slips of paper into a small bin that contained a fire. The text of the tweet read:

Fully-vaccinated protestors in Italy are burning their vaccine passes in a powerful display of solidarity against the tying of civil liberties to vaccination status.

This is how the post looked on Instagram on August 10, 2021:

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Tue Aug 10 17:14:44 2021 UTC)

It is not possible to determine whether those who participated in burning the green slips of paper were fully vaccinated. However, it is clear that they were not burning Italian COVID-19 green certifications. The certificate is not a green, tangible item as the claim implies. Rather, it is a digital certificate that includes a scannable QR code (which can be printed) issued by the country's Ministry of Health that can describe an individual's COVID-19 test, COVID-19 vaccination and COVID-19 recovery statuses. According to the Italian government:

The COVID-19 green certification is required in Italy to participate in parties for civil and religious ceremonies, access nursing homes or other facilities, move in and out of territories classified in "red zone" or "orange zone".

It is also necessary to access any type of indoor dining service at the table, shows, sporting events and competitions, museums, institutes and places of culture, swimming pools, gyms, wellness centers, fairs, festivals, conventions and congresses, spas, theme and amusement parks, cultural and recreational centers, gambling halls and casinos, public competitions.

From 1 July the COVID-19 green certification is valid as EU digital COVID certificate and makes it easier to travel to and from all countries of the European Union and the Schengen area.

The European Union digital COVID certificate serves as proof that an individual has tested negative for COVID-19, has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or has recovered from COVID-19. It is accepted in all EU member states.

Lead Stories found an identical video of the protest that clarified when and where it occurred. The protest was held on August 7, 2021, in Trieste, a city in northern Italy. It was hosted by members of Movimento 3V, an Italian political party opposed to mandatory vaccinations. According to a local report, although hundreds attended, a police presence limited the protest.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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