A man who is virulently against receiving the coronavirus vaccine is now facing fraud charges after appearing for an inoculation wearing a fake arm made of silicone in Biella, Italy, near Turin.
Although it may stretch credulity, the Italian anti-vaxxer indeed showed up for his inoculation, which he was obligated to do in order to receive a health pass, but presented a rubber arm to the health care worker who was supposed to give him the shot.
The Guardian reports that the man may have paid as much as hundreds of euros for the lifelike appendage.
Man with fake arm couldn’t fool healthcare worker
However, it wasn’t quite lifelike enough to fool the medical worker, who, after feeling for the muscle into which the inoculation is supposed to be injected, noticed something wasn’t quite right.
And the color was off too.
“I felt offended as a professional,” healthcare worker Filippa Bua told Italy’s La Repubblica. “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.”
The as-yet unnamed man then asked her: “Would you have imagined that I’d have such a physique?”
She told interviewers from La Stampa that she also could not see the man’s veins — another tipoff that something was clearly wrong with this situation. “At first I thought I made a mistake, that it was a patient with an artificial arm,” she explained.
At this point it is still unclear if the man presented an entire prosthetic arm or perhaps was wearing some type of silicone layer over the skin of his real arm.
After what the world has gone through in the last couple of years, perhaps this event shouldn’t be too shocking, with the many outlandish claims of computer chips and other substances having been placed into vaccines making the rounds worldwide.
The incident occurred one week after Italy, like much of the rest of Europe, clamped down the unvaccinated, barring them from most places of business and social, cultural and sporting activities across the nation.
Bua told health authorities that her erstwhile patient had duly completed all the formalities of the vaccination, including signing a consent form in front of a physician. The man with the fake appendage, who is 50 years old, then obediently sat down and raised the sleeve of his shirt as she prepared to administer the shot.
It didn’t take long, however, before the healthcare worker noticed something was seriously amiss. But even after she discovered his ruse, Bua says that he attempted to persuade her to go on with the charade.
Alberto Cirio, the president of the Piedmont region of Italy, said in a joint statement with Luigi Icardi, the regional health councillor “The promptness and skill of the health worker ruined the plans of this person, who will now have to respond to the judiciary.”
La Repubblica reported that the bizarre incident might not have been the only such to have happened so far in the seemingly never-ending campaign of some to fight mandatory vaccines. The newspaper cited a recent message on social media that might have been posted by the man from Biella.
The Tweet portrayed a male half-body suit made of silicone, complete with prosthetic arms, chest, and neck, which was on sale on Amazon for €488 ($551). The man who posted the message then added next to the photo “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.”
Although comical, the incident carries serious overtones at a time when much of the world grapples with a fourth wave of the coronavirus. Cirio and Icardi told reporters that the event would “border on the ridiculous” aside from “the fact that we are talking about a gesture of enormous gravity.
“It is unacceptable in the face of the sacrifice that the pandemic is making the whole community pay for,” the officials added.
Like Greece, which has reported a steep rise in appointments for coronavirus shots, Italy has also noted a huge rise in the number of reservations for the initial vaccine after the nation announced plans for its “super green pass.”
This new scheme, which takes effect across Italy beginning on Monday, December 6, requires residents to prove either that they are vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 before they are allowed into cinemas, theaters, gyms, nightclubs, and stadiums, and inside bars and restaurants.
The measure applies even to those who want to use ski lifts.