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Police: Biology Teacher Laura Russo Arrested For Allegedly Injecting Teen With COVID Vaccine, Though She's Not Authorized To Do So

SEA CLIFF, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A Long Island woman who is not a medical worker and not authorized to administer vaccines was arrested after police say she gave a teenager what was believed to be a coronavirus shot in her living room.

As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported Monday, inside a landmark, Victorian-latticed 1882 Sea Cliff home, a 54-year-old biology teacher with no medical qualifications was arrested for allegedly inoculating a teenage without his parental permission.

Family members of the accused, identified as Laura Parker Russo, declined comment, but her Sea Cliff neighbors expressed concern.

"It would send panic to the public if there are people out there giving false vaccination," said neighbor Peter Mandzych.

COVID VACCINE

"I'm in shock. I don't even know how to get access to it. How is it even possible?" said neighbor Vivian Zampino.

Dr. Audie Liametz, vice chair of the emergency department at NYU Langone, explained that a vial could be COVID counterfeit. One needs consent, patient history to allergies, and medical knowledge of handling and procedure.

"You have to draw up the medication into sterile syringe with a needle and expel some of the air and give the injection properly," Liametz said.

After allegedly receiving the dose, the 17-year-old went home and told his mother. Nassau police say she alerted them, and an investigation unfolded on New Year's Day.

It's unclear if the teen was monitored after the shot, how Russo obtained the vaccines, and which brand it is.

Russo's supporters told CBS2 she is a respected and talented teacher in the Herricks School District.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The superintendent responded by saying, "The individual in question is a district employee who has been removed from the classroom and reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation."

"We are a community deli. We know everybody here. And I just think it's too quick to rush to judgment," said Ron Collura of Aratas Gourmet Deli.

Others are baffled by what prompted the well-regarded teacher to allegedly vaccinate the teen in her home.

"It's kind of surprising. I know who she is," one person said.

"If you're not authorized, it's the wrong to do," said another.

"It's concerning that there is such outrage over vaccine," said another.

More is expected to be learned from the accused teacher and her attorney at her court appearance on Jan. 21.

Editor's note: This story first appeared on Jan. 3.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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