May 19, 2022

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The Italian dentist who tried to get a COVID-19 vaccine using a fake arm now says he’s gotten the shot in an abrupt about-face

A nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccine to an Italian man.

A man receives a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, at a vaccination center set at Rome’s Cinecitta’ film studios, on April 20, 2021.AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File

  • An Italian man who wore a fake arm to his vaccine appointment said he has since gotten the shot.

  • Dr. Guido Russo appeared to backtrack, telling LA7 that vaccines were “the only” way through the pandemic.

  • Russo could face charges for trying to dupe a nurse into administering the shot into a fake arm.

The Italian man who made headlines earlier this month for attempting to use fake, foam arms to fool a nurse into administering his COVID-19 vaccine has had an apparent — and abrupt — change of heart.

The former dentist, who The Associated Press identified as Dr. Guido Russo, told an Italian talk show on Wednesday that he has since been inoculated and praised vaccines as “the only weapon we have against this terrible disease.”

There is no official confirmation, however, that Russo has been vaccinated.

During an appearance on LA7 Russo addressed the stunt, telling the outlet he hadn’t intended to defraud the Italian government, but instead, was making a personal protest against the country’s vaccine mandates.

Italy was the first country in Europe to require vaccines for all healthcare workers, and under new rules, employees like teachers, police officers, and other hospital staff, will be required to show proof of vaccination to keep their jobs.

Italian news outlet ANSA previously reported that Russo was suspended from his job for refusing to get vaccinated.

The country has also implemented a pass system, which grants social freedoms to the vaccinated amid a new set of restrictions that went into effect earlier this month. Russo had seemingly been trying to secure a COVID-19 health certificate that allows the vaccinated the right to attend bars and restaurants, according to media reports.

As Insider previously reported, Russo showed up to his vaccination appointment in Biella, Italy, wearing two rubber foam arms under a theater corset.

The administering nurse, Filippa Bua, told The New York Times that she immediately noticed a small gap between his shirt and the foam arm when he sat down and prepared for the jab.

“The color 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 color,” Bua told La Repubblica, according to the Guardian.

The nurse told media outlets she initially believed Russo was an amputee who had accidentally presented his incorrect arm to her, before she realized he was trying to dupe her.

But Russo, who could face criminal charges for the stunt, told Italian media he was not anti-vaccine and had received all of his childhood vaccinations. He added that he had since gotten the shot because “the system obliged me to.”

Russo’s conduct drew the ire of Alberto Cirio, president of the Piedmont region, who said the incident was “of enormous gravity” and “unacceptable given the sacrifice our community is enduring because of the pandemic.”

According to Johns Hopkins University’s vaccine tracker, 73% of Italy’s population is fully vaccinated.

Read the original article on Insider