Italian Dentist Tried to Circumvent Vaccine Mandate With Fake Arm

The man later said he got vaccinated (in his real arm).

Published Dec 12, 2021

A healthcare Worker hands in surgical gloves pulling COVID-19 vaccine liquid from vial to vaccinate a patient ( Morsa Images / Getty Images)
A healthcare Worker hands in surgical gloves pulling COVID-19 vaccine liquid from vial to vaccinate a patient (Image Via Morsa Images / Getty Images)

Snopes is still fighting an “infodemic” of rumors and misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and you can help. Find out what we've learned and how to inoculate yourself against COVID-19 misinformation. Read the latest fact checks about the vaccines. Submit any questionable rumors and “advice” you encounter. Become a Founding Member to help us hire more fact-checkers. And, please, follow the CDC or WHO for guidance on protecting your community from the disease.

The Italian newspaper la Repubblica reported a man in Biela, a city in northwest Italy, west of Milan, attempted to subvert the country's COVID-19 vaccination mandate for healthcare workers in an unconventional way — by affixing a fake arm into which the shot would go.

The man, identified as 57-year-old dentist Guido Russo, "showed up with a silicone arm, which included the shoulder with the deltoid muscle," the paper reported in Italian. But the nurse administrating the shot, later identified as Filippa Bua, didn't take the bait, and he was reported to the police for fraud.

Italy, with a population of just under 60 million, was one of the first countries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. As of this writing, 134,551 Italians had died from COVID-19, while there have been more than 5.2 million cases.

Italy has implemented strict measures that restrict access to many facets of public life, like public transit, places of work, bars, theaters, sporting events, and other activities, to only those who show proof of vaccination or recovery from the virus in the last six months.

Flap from the incident went all the way to Alberto Cirio, president of Italy's Piedmont region, who said the incident would "border on the ridiculous" if it weren't also serious.

Russo later stated he got vaccinated.


“Covid-19: Italy Tightens Restrictions for Unvaccinated.” BBC News, 6 Dec. 2021.,

Suliman, Adela. “Italian Who Tried to Evade Vaccine Using Prosthetic Arm Now Claims He’s Received His Shot.” Washington Post, 9 Dec. 2021,

“Medico No Vax sospeso va a fare il vaccino con un braccio finto per ottenere il Green Pass: denunciato per truffa.” la Repubblica, 2 Dec. 2021,

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more

Article Tags