A 50-year-old man is facing criminal charges after he showed up to a COVID vaccine clinic with a prosthetic arm.
According to la Repubblica, the incident happened in the northern Italy last month, after the government signed a decree making a COVID “super green pass” mandatory at bars, theatres, gyms, and other public spaces beginning next week. Not having the document will, of course, result in many inconveniences; but rather than simply get the jab, the vaccine-hesitant man decided he’d try to circumvent the system by donning a silicone arm to his vaccine appointment.
The Italian outlet reports, the man went through all the formalities at the clinic, such as signing a consent form in front of clinic. Health worker Filippa Bua told the la Repubbilica she didn’t notice anything unusual at first, but once she went to touch the man’s arm, she realized it looked unusual. She then asked the patient to remove his shirt, and immediately realized he had been wearing a faux limb.
“The color of the skin was anomalous, much lighter compared to the hands or the face of the patient,” Bua explained, per CNN. “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. But then he admitted he was wearing the fake arm on purpose to avoid getting the vaccine!”
“At the very beginning I was surprised, then I was angry,” she added. “I felt professionally offended, he showed no respect for our intelligence and our profession. I would never expect such a thing in my life.”
The man allegedly tried to persuade Bua into not reporting his stunt but she shut down his efforts and ultimately called the police. Authorities say they are now investigating the incident for potential fraud charges.
“The case borders on the ridiculous, if it were not for the fact we are talking about a gesture of enormous gravity,” Albert Cirio, the head of the Piedmont regional government, said on Facebook. “It is unacceptable in the face of the sacrifice that the pandemic is making the whole community pay for.”
According la Repubblica, the man is a former health worker who was suspended from his job after he refused to get vaccinated. The outlet points out he had shared a recent tweet with images of a silicone body suit being sold through Amazon.
“If I go with this, will they notice?” he reportedly wrote. “Maybe beneath the silicone I’ll even put on some extra clothes to avoid the needle reaching my real arm.”