A teacher in New York has been arrested after allegedly administering a COVID-19 vaccine to a 17-year-old student.
Laura Russo, a biology teacher at Herricks High School who reportedly has no medical qualifications, allegedly gave the student a dose – reportedly of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, although police have said that the brand is unclear – at her home on New Year's Eve. Russo can be seen injecting the teenager in a video obtained by WNBC.
The teen can be heard saying “there you go, at-home vaccine" before getting injected. He wanted to be vaccinated, according to CBS2, though his parents were against the idea. After the boy informed them of his "at home vaccine", they informed the local police.
Russo, 54, could face up to four years in prison should her arrest lead to a conviction.
"The mother had not given permission or authority to have her son injected with a Covid vaccine and called police," a Nassau County Police said in a press release seen by IB Times. "After an investigation was conducted, it was discovered that Laura Parker Russo is not a medical professional or authorized to administer vaccines and was placed under arrest without incident."
Meanwhile Herricks Public Schools superintendent Fino Celano said that Russo had been removed from teaching duties and reassigned, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Though COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, there are good reasons why they should only be administered by trained professionals. As well as being taught how to prepare and administer the vaccines safely, vaccinators are trained in how to store them correctly to keep them safe and effective, and how to recognize and respond to adverse reactions.
It is unknown how Russo came into possession of the vaccine used in the video. Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for use in under-18s in the US.