In a classic case of vaccine apathy, not hesitancy, driving vaccine disinterest, a man is facing fraud charges for turning up for his jab wearing a fake arm.
In a desperate attempt to obtain a health pass without actually getting vaccinated, the Italian man reportedly turned up at the vaccine centre with a silicone prosthetic arm.
Last week, Italy announced that unvaccinated people will be barred from social and sports activities, joining other governments across Europe in re-introducing tight COVID-19 measures amid record-breaking numbers of infections.
Perhaps it was this directive that forced the 50-year-old anti-vaxxer into paying thousands of shillings for the fake hand.
Busted after completing vaccine procedure
After going through all the procedures at the vaccine centre in Biella – a town close to Turin in northern Piedmont region – the man sat down and lifted his shirt, ready to get his jab.
The health worker then moved closer to administer the jab, she did not notice anything odd because of the fake hand’s striking resemblance to human skin.
But after taking a closer look and touching the arm, The Guardian reports that the medic asked the man to take off his shirt. This was when the anti-vaxxer’s plan was busted. He reportedly pleaded with the doctor not to report him.
“I felt offended as a professional,” Filippa Bua told La Repubblica. “The colour of the arm made me suspicious and so I asked the man to uncover the rest of his left arm. It was well made but it wasn’t the same colour.”
Health worker thought she’d made a mistake
The health worker says that at first she thought she had made a mistake, that the man was a patient with an artificial arm.
“The promptness and skill of the health worker ruined the plans of this person, who will now have to respond to the judiciary,” Alberto Cirio, the president of Piedmont, said in a joint statement with Luigi Icardi, the regional health councillor.
The Italian outlet reports that the incident might not have been a one-off, citing recent social media message they suspect had been written by the man in Biella.
In a Twitter post featuring a silicone male chest half-body suit, complete with fake arms and neck, that was on sale on Amazon for €488 (£416), there was a message; “If I go with this, will they notice? Maybe beneath the silicone I’ll even put on some extra clothes to avoid the needle reaching my real arm.”