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Laura Parker Russo Pleads Not Guilty To Allegedly Administering COVID Vaccine To Teen Illegally

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - A Long Island biology teacher faces up to four years in prison, accused of injecting a neighbor's son with what's believed to be a coronavirus vaccine.

As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reports, during her arraignment, a judge signed an order telling the Sea Cliff mother to stay away from the 17-year-old friend of her son.

The Long Island science teacher accused of giving a COVID vaccine to a 17-year-old neighbor without the consent of his parents had her day in court. Flanked by her husband, Laura Parker Russo walked swiftly away after pleading not guilty to an E felony, unauthorized practice of a profession.

"This is no criminal motive in this case. There was only good that she wanted to come out of this thing," said defense attorney Michael DerGarabedian.

It was New Year's Eve inside her North Shore Sea Cliff home that Russo allegedly administered the vaccine to her son's friend. The teen wanted the vaccine, but his parents did not.

She is a 10th grade Herricks High School biology teacher, not a medical professional.

"She's got parents and people that live with her that have diabetes, and she's constantly giving medicine," DerGarabedian said.

Russo has no medical license, says the DA.

"As you are aware, there was a video made of it. It was almost treated as if they were doing something funny," said Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly.

The video shows the incident, with Russo claiming she's giving him the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

"It's not funny when you are breaking the law and injecting children," Donnelly said.

"Do you know where she got the vaccine?" McLogan asked.

"Our investigation is continuing into where she purportedly got the vaccine," Donnelly said.

The criminal complaint says she got it from a pharmacy.

The vials are being tested.

"My concern is that there will be other copycats out," Donnelly said.

Non-medical workers giving vaccines with or without permission to friends and relatives are liable, and will be criminally charged, the DA says.

Parker Russo has been reassigned by her school district pending the outcome of the case. She is scheduled back in court next week.

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