Not everyone cares to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
But most people want to work and play; and increasingly, establishments are mandating proof of having been poked.
Amid a conflict of concerns, some folks have cooked up schemes.
Apropos of such, an Italian's ingenuity recently took the cake.
And now, critics might say, he's getting his just deserts.
As relayed by The Guardian, Italy recently “announced measures barring unvaccinated people from a host of social, cultural and sporting activities.”
About a week later, a 50-year-old man appeared at a vaccine hub in the northern Piedmont town of Biella.
He went through the administrative motions, and after signing a consent form pulled up his sleeve.
Touching the man's arm to shove in the shot, medical worker Filippa Bua noticed something strange.
She asked the gentleman to kindly remove his shirt.
He pleaded with Filippa to just let the process continue, but she declined.
Speaking to La Repubblica, Filippa explained she “felt offended as a professional.”
As it turned out, the man's limb was latex.
“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.”
He inquired, “Would you have imagined that I'd have such a physique?”
The upper appendage was oddly absent of veins.
She at first thought “it was a patient with an artificial arm.”
But the truth was much more troubling: He'd attempted a rubber ruse in order to acquire a COVID credential without getting actually inoculated.
As noted by The Guardian, the cards are coveted passes to components of life in the country shaped like a boot:
Italy has reported a significant rise in the number of bookings for first-time jabs since announcing plans for the “super green pass,” which takes effect nationally from 6 December and requires people to prove they are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 to access cinemas, theatres, gyms, nightclubs, ski-lifts and stadiums, as well as to be served indoors at bars and restaurants.
It's no surprise some impropriety may end up afoot.
It's happened in America as well.
In heavily-regulated California, vaccine cards gain entry into restaurants and other social venues.
In May, a bar owner in Clemente — roughly 40 miles southeast of Sacramento — was arrested for selling fake COVID vaccination cards for $20 a pop.
News of the unthinkable act left San Joaquin District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar faint of heart:
“It is disheartening to have members in our community show flagrant disregard for public health in the midst of a pandemic.”
“Distributing, falsifying or purchasing fake COVID-19 vaccine cards is against the law and endangers yourself and those around you,” he insisted, not clarifying how it might harm others if they all have access to the vaccine and the vaccine works.
If you make or buy a fake #COVID19 vaccination card, you endanger yourself & others — & you're breaking the law. The FBI & our partners @HHSGov are advising the public to be aware of individuals selling, or pushing the creation of, fake vaccination cards: https://t.co/d5kn1yxqwF pic.twitter.com/YG7s68Hnvz
— FBI Washington Field (@FBIWFO) August 8, 2021
Back to Italy, the armed and dangerous man will now stand before a court of law.
And in the way of similar sinisterness, there may be more to come:
La Repubblica suggested that the incident might not have been a one-off, citing a recent message on social media that might have been written by the man in Biella.
The Twitter post featured a silicone male chest half-body suit, complete with fake arms and neck, that was on sale on Amazon for EUR488 (GBP416). Alongside the image was the message: “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.”
If not for the “enormous gravity” of the situation, Regional Health Councillor Luigi Icardi and Piedmont President Alberto Cirio said in a statement, it would “border on the ridiculous.”
That may well be so.
But if you're assuming it's the most bizarre pandemic-era story about a left arm…you wouldn't be right:
If there was ever a story not to miss…
— Alex Parker (@alexparker1984) September 29, 2020
If that man's been vaccinated, hopefully the nurse's choice of injection site didn't leave him a sad sack.