The unsavory antics of anti-vaxxers appear to be evolving.
As a response to the growing threat of omicron, governments around the world are enacting new travel restrictions, lockdowns, and vaccination requirements. The discovery of this new variant has made all of us nervous, but seemingly no one more so than anti-vaxxers. The antics of those who refuse to be vaccinated are getting increasingly desperate and, well, ridiculous. Over the weekend, an Italian dentist tried to trick nurses into vaccinating a fake arm.
In order to protect public health, the Italian government has issued a health certificate — sometimes called a “green pass” — to people who have been fully vaccinated. As of today, Italy is placing increased restrictions on those who choose to remain unvaccinated, so Italian officials encouraged people to get vaccinated ahead of restrictions over the weekend. A dentist in Northern Italy, an unnamed 57-year-old man — allegedly tried to scam his way into a health certificate by presenting nurses with a silicone arm.
Many people who have had amputations use prosthetic arms and, at first, the nurse who was vaccinating the man thought that he was an amputee who had mistakenly presented the wrong limb. “When I uncovered the arm, I felt skin that was cold and gummy, and the color was too light,” Filippa Bua, the nurse tasked with vaccinating the man, told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. It was then that Bua realized that the man was trying to scam her, reported the Post.
After Bua caught on to the man’s deception, he reportedly tried to convince her to issue him a health certificate, anyways. She refused and the man left the vaccination site reportedly without a fuss, the Washington Post reported. In the interest of public safety, Bua and her colleagues reported the man to the local police and the man could be facing criminal charges.
“The incident would border on the ridiculous, were it not for the fact that we are talking about an extremely serious act,” Alberto Cirio, president of the Piedmont region of Italy, said in his Facebook statement about the event. Italy has been one of the European countries hardest hit by the pandemic, with over 134,000 deaths due to COVID-19. Most Italians are vaccinated now — about 73% of those eligible — but there continues to be a strong anti-vax sentiment amongst some.
We don’t know enough about this alleged scammer to know why he did what he did, but this case seems like clear evidence that anti-vaxxers are willing to go to absurdist lengths to avoid the jab. Fake cards were one thing, but fake arms? This episode of Black Mirror is getting less and less believable.