A New York public school biology teacher was arrested on New Year’s Eve after she allegedly gave a COVID-19 vaccine to a 17-year-old boy without his parents’ permission, according to the Washington Examiner.
Laura Russo of Herricks Public Schools in Hyde Park administered the shot to the boy, whose mother complained to Nassau County authorities that she had not given permission after he told her what happened, according to the arrest report.
Russo was arrested because police said she did not have medical authorization to administer vaccines. She is not a medical professional, and she was charged with the New York State Education Law known as “unauthorized practice of a profession,” then released on a desk ticket to appear on Jan. 21.
A video surfaced on Twitter of Russo preparing to administer the vaccine. The teen, whose face was blurred out, reportedly asked Russo to give him the vaccine because his mother would not give permission for him to get vaccinated through official channels.
“There you go, at home vaccine”. Police have arrested a Long Island mother for illegally giving a 17 year old boy a shot of Covid vaccine in her home. And there’s video….Only on @NBCNewYork #nbc4ny pic.twitter.com/KpG5vAQaDT
— Pei-Sze Cheng (@PeiSzeCheng4NY) January 3, 2022
Russo apparently administered the one-dose Johnson&Johnson vaccine to the boy, which is not even authorized for those under 18. It was not clear how she had gotten a vial of the vaccine.
When school personnel found out Russo had been arrested, they reassigned her to a non-classroom position.
“The individual in question is a district employee who has been removed from the classroom and reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation,” the school told NBC4, adding that the vaccine administration did not occur at school and had nothing to do with the classroom.
“Not a smart thing to do”
“Besides being illegal, it’s just not a smart thing to do. An authorized, licensed professional should be providing vaccines to know how to give them properly to make sure if there’s a complication that can be dealt with immediately and very efficiently,” Mount Sinai South Nassau Dr. Aaron Glatt said.
Johnson & Johnson is in the middle of a phase 2/3 clinical trial to study how its vaccine impacts the 12 to 17 age group but does not yet have data about its safety or incidence of side effects.
Nevertheless, Russo may represent vaccine proponents who are so adamant that everyone should be vaccinated that breaking a rule will not stop them.
They think they know better than everyone else what people should do, and that getting people vaccinated is more important than anything else, even though the omicron variant shows little evidence of being stopped by vaccines at this point.