A man was caught red-handed trying to trick a health worker into injecting him with the Covid vaccine in a fake arm.
The surrealist episode took place in Biella, a town in the north Italy near Turin, where the unidentified man, 50, asked staff to close their eyes after noticing the silicone arm.
The region’s head of authority, Alberto Cirio, called the ruse “ridiculous” and vowed that he “would now respond to justice”.
“Even though the silicone looked a lot like real skin, its color and feel aroused suspicion from the health worker,” he said in a statement.
“The worker then asked the person to show their full arm. Once discovered, the subject attempted to convince the health worker to close his eyes.
“Instead, it was reported to the carabinieri (police forces) and the ASL (local health unit) will also report the case. »
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It came as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said EU countries should consider making Covid vaccinations mandatory because too many people still refuse.
The EU-wide vaccination rate stands at 66%, and an unexpected increase in cases across much of the 27-country bloc has led many member countries to renew measures to fight infections.
Germany, for example, decided this week to ban unvaccinated people from shops and non-essential reception areas, while Austria will make vaccinations compulsory from February.
Italy, like much of Europe, is on high alert as the Omicron variant spreads across the continent, with scientists still unsure of its threat level and ability to escape vaccines.
The country’s Higher Institute of Health (ISS) last week reported the country’s first case of the Omicron variant as a man who recently visited Mozambique.