Italian man facing fraud charges after trying to dodge Covid vax using fake arm

The healthcare worker administering the vaccine became suspicious when the patients arm felt rubbery.

A nurse prepares a dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination (Yui Mok/PA)

Clodagh Meaney

A man in Italy is facing fraud charges after he turned up for his Covid-19 vaccination with a fake arm.

The unnamed man visited a vaccination centre in Biella, a town in northern Piedmont with a plan to fake receiving his jab in order to get his hands on a vaccination pass. He attempted to trick a health worker into administering the vaccine into his faux silicone mould arm.

After signing a consent form the man in his 50s sat down as a health worker prepared to administer the jab. Upon touching the patient's arm, as he rolled up his sleeve to receive his jab, the medic took a closer look and asked him to remove his shirt.

Once his scheme was uncovered, he begged the health worker to keep the incident a secret. Instead, she decided to report the incident to police, claiming the man was committing fraud.

Speaking to a newspaper, La Repubblica, she said she felt offended as a professional.

"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.”

The man then asked her: “Would you have imagined that I’d have such a physique?”

She told La Stampa that the reason she became suspicious was because she could not see the man’s veins: “At first I thought I made a mistake, that it was a patient with an artificial arm.”

She found the arm to be rubbery and cold, and the pigment to be “too light.”

Alberto Cirio, the president of Piedmont, released a joint statement with Luigi Icardi, the regional health councillor about the matter.

“The case borders on the ridiculous, if it were not for the fact we are talking about a gesture of enormous gravity.”

He said that the incident was "unacceptable faced with the sacrifice that our entire community has paid during the pandemic, in terms of human lives, the social and economic cost."

The incident came as Covid restrictions for people who have not been vaccinated got tighter in Italy this week.

Since August, a “green pass” - similar to Ireland’s Covid pass - showing proof of vaccination, recent recovery from covid or a negative test result, has been required for visiting restaurants, museums, theatres, cinema and sporting events. In October it was extended to all workplaces.

However, from Monday December 6th, these activities will only be available to holders of a so called “super green pass” which is only available to people who have been vaccinated or who recently had Covid-19.

As the vaccine is a mandatory requirement for all health workers in Italy, it has been reported that the man worked in the health sector and attempted the ploy in a bid to get his job back after he had been suspended because he refused to be vaccinated against the deadly virus.

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