Who is Laura Russo? Why US teacher faces prison for allegedly giving teen Covid vaccine in her New York home

It is illegal to administer vaccines without a formal medical qualification in the USA

<p>In the US, it is illegal to administer vaccines without a formal medical qualification (image: Getty Images)</p>

In the US, it is illegal to administer vaccines without a formal medical qualification (image: Getty Images)

The race to get people vaccinated has been hotting up around the world in the wake of the lightning spread of the Omicron Covid variant.

Here in the UK, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reported to be considering changing the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ to mean a person has had three jabs rather than two.

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Over in the USA, however, there are major issues with getting people to have one vaccine dose let alone three.

More than 507 million vaccines have been administered in the country but around 27% of the population has not yet had a shot, according to Bloomberg.

This situation appears to have led one US teacher to take matters into her own hands, with a video posted on social media appearing to show her vaccinating a teenager.

A social media video appears to show Laura Russo giving a 17-year-old a Covid vaccine dose (image: CBS)

Laura Russo, 54, was then arrested by police because she was not qualified to give out a vaccine.

So who exactly is Ms Russo and why did she appear to inject a teenager at her home?

Who is Laura Russo?

Laura Russo is understood to be a biology teacher from Long Island in the US state of New York.

She is from the town of Sea Cliff, which is around 10 miles from the centre of New York City.

A video appears to show Ms Russo giving a shot of a Covid vaccine to a 17-year-old boy in her home.

The incident was believed to have taken place on 31 December, with the boy then understood to have told his parents that he had been jabbed.

Covid vaccines are a controversial subject in the USA, with 27% of the population having thus far refused to have one (image: AFP/Getty Images)

His mother called Nassau County Police, who arrested and charged Ms Russo for breaching the New York State Education Law for the Unauthorized Practice of a Profession.

Among other things, this law requires people to have a formal medical qualification before administering vaccinations.

Ms Russo has been released and is due in court on 21 January.

According to American broadcaster CBS, which broke the story, police said: "The individual in question is a district employee who has been removed from the classroom and reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation."

The teacher has not commented to US media.

What happens in the video?

The video, which has been widely shared on social media, starts with a boy saying: “Here we go, at-home vaccine”.

It shows a boy, understood to be the 17-year-old in question, sitting at what appears to be a dining room table with a bowl of oranges in the middle of it.

A smiling woman then leans in with a syringe and appears to put it into the boy’s arm.

The caption for the video reads: “never been so uncomfy in his life.”

Why is it controversial?

Aside from the fact that Ms Russo appears to have broken the law, there are two key reasons for why the video is highly controversial.

First, from a medical standpoint, there is only one form of Covid vaccine - Pfizer - that can be administered to people under the age of 18.

It is also unclear whether Ms Russo followed correct protocols when giving the shot, for example monitoring the teenager after his innocultation to ensure he had no adverse reaction to it.

Secondly, vaccination is the subject of much debate in the USA.

The country has a strong anti-vax movement that mostly falls along political lines, with many Republicans refusing the vaccine.

This was illustrated at a Donald Trump rally last month when the former US President was booed by the crowd for telling them he had received a booster vaccine.

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