Italy police bust fake covid vaccine scam

No Vax leader and nurse detained in Palermo.

Police in the Sicilian city of Palermo have arrested three people as part of an investigation into an alleged scam that involved a nurse pretending to administer covid vaccines to anti-vaxxers in exchange for cash.

The three people detained include a prominent No Vax leader, Filippo Accetta, and an associate of his, along with a nurse working at a vaccination hub in Palermo, reports newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

The scheme allegedly involved the nurse emptying the vaccine into a cotton gauze before inserting an empty syringe into the arms of anti-vaxxers who paid €400 to dodge the vaccine but obtain Italy's covid Green Pass certificate.

Hidden cameras caught the nurse carrying out the fake inoculation 11 times, allegedly earning herself €100 each time, leading police to seize 11 Green Passes obtained illegally from the national health system.

However it is suspected that the scam could be far wider, according to newspaper La Repubblica which reports that the 11 people alleged to have availed of the fradulent scheme include another nurse and a policeman.

The investigation excluded the involvement of the doctors and health officials working at the vaccination centre, reports Il Sole 24 Ore.

Palermo's coronavirus commissioner Renato Costa said the "sad and disconcerting" case had left all the workers at the vaccination hub feeling "betrayed", La Repubblica reports. 

The probe follows the recent case of the Italian anti-vaxxer dentist who made news headlines around the world after he attempted to get vaccinated into a fake silicone arm.