A 50-year-old man tried to pass off a silicone arm as his own at a Covid-19 vaccination clinic in northern Italy, in an attempt to get a vaccine certificate without actually getting inoculated.
The deception was spotted by a nurse, Filippa Bua, as she was about to administer the vaccine in Biella, Piedmont on Thursday. Bua told CNN she noticed something odd about the arm. “The color of the skin was anomalous, much lighter compared to the hands or the face of the patient,” she said. After inspecting the area, she realized that the arm was fake, made of silicone.
“I first felt sorry for the man, thinking that he had a prosthesis and wondering if I had somehow forced him to give me the wrong arm,” Bua said. “But then he admitted he was wearing the fake arm on purpose to avoid getting the vaccine!” The revelation prompted a range of emotions for Bua, who said she has been a nurse since 1987 and has administered thousands of jabs. “At the very beginning I was surprised, then I was angry, I felt professionally offended, he showed no respect for our intelligence and our profession,” she said. “I would never expect such a thing in my life.”
The Piedmont regional government condemned the man’s attempt to cheat the system. “The case could be classified as ‘ridiculous,’ except that we are talking about a gesture of enormous gravity, unacceptable for the sacrifice that the whole community is paying for the pandemic,” a joint communiqué from the Piedmont region’s President and health councilor reads. In a video message, the President of the Piedmont regional government, Alberto Cirio, went further, saying the incident was “an offense to the region’s health system, that is among the first in Italy for vaccination capacity and for booster doses.”