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Guy Who Tried to Get Shot in Fake Arm Gets Vaccine for Real

Dentist in Italy says phony limb was protest against vaccine mandates
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 4, 2021 9:15 AM CST
He Stuck Out His Arm to Get Vaxxed. It Was 'Cold and Gummy'
People wait in line at a COVID-19 vaccination center near Tor Vergata Hospital in Rome on April 24, 2021.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

(Newser) Update: An Italian dentist who tried to get a COVID vaccine in a fake arm says he got the vaccine for real the next day. Dr. Guido Russo told a talk show Wednesday night that he's not anti-vaccination, but he wanted to protest vaccine mandates, the AP reports. "I think at this point the vaccine is the only weapon we have against this terrible disease, but there should be a freedom of choice,” he said. Russo, who could still face criminal charges, argued that the silicone arm he presented to a nurse was so obviously fake that he shouldn't be accused of trying to dupe anybody. Our story from Dec. 4 follows:

story continues below

A dentist in Italy faces possible criminal charges after trying to receive a coronavirus vaccine in a fake arm made of silicone. Filippa Bua, a nurse in the northern city of Biella, said she could tell right away that something was off when a man presented the phony limb for a shot on Thursday, per the AP. "When I uncovered the arm, I felt skin that was cold and gummy, and the color was too light," Bua told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. She said she initially thought the 57-year-old man was an amputee and had mistakenly offered the wrong arm. She lifted his shirt and saw a silicone arm.

"I understood immediately that the man was trying to avoid the vaccination by using a silicone prosthetic, into which he hoped that I would inject the drug, unaware," Bua said. The nurse said the man acknowledged he didn't want a vaccine but to obtain a "super" health pass, which from Monday will be required to enter restaurants, cinemas, theaters, and other venues in Italy. He'd already been suspended from work because of his refusal to get vaccinated, which Italy requires for medical personnel. The nurse said the man was courteous and left the vaccination center after the failed attempt.

"We stopped and reflected, and we understood that this wasn't just a surreal situation, but a real attempt at fraud," Bua said. She and others at the vaccination site turned paperwork over to superiors so they could report the case, which has been given to prosecutors. While Italy's vaccination rate is relatively high at 85% of the currently eligible population ages 12 and over, people in the the age range from 30 to 59 have proven the most resistant to vaccinations, with nearly 3.5 million still not having received their first doses.

(Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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