Teacher arrested for injecting 17-year-old with COVID-19 vaccine after parents said no, reports say

Woman allegedly used Johnson & Johnson vaccine

MINEOLA, NY – A high school biology teacher in New York has pleaded not guilty after she allegedly administered a COVID-19 vaccine to her son’s teenage friend.

According to ABC7NY, Laura Parker Russo was seen administering a vaccine to the 17-year-old in a Snapchat video.

Russo can be heard in the video telling the teen the shot was a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“Yeah — this needle is like smaller than this needle ok, yeah, and I measured it — ha ha ha you’ll be fine, I hope,” Russo can be heard saying.

CBS News reported that Russo was arrested and charged with New York State Education Law Unauthorized Practice of a Profession after the teen’s mother called the police.

Despite her lack of a medical license, Russo’s defense attorney Michael Dergarabedian argued that “she’s got parents and people who live with her that have diabetes, and she’s constantly giving medicine.”

How Russo obtained the vaccine remains unclear and the only vaccine brand that has been labeled as approved for 5-17-year-olds is Pfizer.

According to FOX13, the teen asked Russo to give him the vaccine on New Year’s Eve because he wanted to get vaccinated but his parents were against it.

“It’s not funny when you are breaking the law and injecting children,” said Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly. “Our investigation is continuing into where she purportedly got the vaccine. My concern is that there will be other copycats out there.”

Dergarabedian told ABC7NY that Russo, who has six children, “wasn’t making money. She wasn’t trying to hurt anybody. So figure it out yourself. She was trying to do good.”

The vial Russo used is reportedly being tested and she is due back in court on Tuesday.

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.