Laura Russo, a high school biology teacher from Long Island, is under fire after she gave a 17-year-old the Covid-19 vaccine without his parents’ permission. The vaccinated teen later told his mother, who called the police. According to reports, Russo has been removed from her teaching position pending an investigation.

According to police reports, the illegal vaccination happened New Year’s Eve in Russo’s Sea Cliff home. The 17-year-old was a friend of one of Russo’s children and video of the incident later went viral. Laura Russo has been charged with unauthorized practice of a profession.

“After an investigation was conducted, it was discovered that Laura Parker Russo is not a medical professional or authorized to administer vaccines and was placed under arrest without incident,” said a statement by the police department.

Some reports said that the vaccinated teen asked for Russo to give him the shot because his mother didn’t want him to get it. It is unclear if that’s true. The Nassau County Police Department is still investigating how the teacher got access to a vial of the vaccine.

Police started investigating the incident on New Year’s Day after the mother reported the crime. Laura Russo is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 21.

Laura Russo was charged after she gave a Covid-19 vaccine to a 17-year-old without his parent's permission. (Credit: Simply North Shore).
Laura Russo was charged after she gave a Covid-19 vaccine to a 17-year-old without his parents’ permission. (Credit: Simply North Shore).

NBC New York reported that the vaccine administered by Russo was a Johnson & Johnson shot, which is only recommended for adults. According to a video released by the network, the 54-year-old can be seen stabbing the needle into the student’s arm and he said, “There you go, at-home vaccine.”

“The mother had not given permission or authority to have her son injected with a Covid vaccine,” said the police department.

After the incident was reported, superintendent of Herricks Public Schools, Fino Celano, released a statement and said that the biology teacher had been removed from her classroom and reassigned pending the investigation. It is unclear what position she has been reassigned to.

The mother of six is married to John Russo, a realtor in Sea Cliff, Long Island and New York. The couple have bios listed on Simply North Shore, which is a blog dedicated to life on the north shore of Long Island. According to Laura Russo’s bio, she is “a Sea Cliff resident & a native Long Islander. She is a tenured Biology Teacher at Herricks High School and loves her profession as an educator. Laura volunteers her time as a Member of the Sea Cliff Civic Association.

Laura and John Russo have not released a statement regarding the incident or Laura’s arrest.

According to a local scientist, Dr. Aaron Glatt, Laura Russo giving the vaccine to the 17-year-old could have ended horribly if something went wrong. He said, “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.”

While the video shows the New Hyde Park teacher giving the shot, viewers cannot be sure that the 17-year-old was properly monitored afterward to make sure that he had no reactions to the vaccine. The young man could have had allergies unknown to Russo.

Dr. Audie Liametz, vice chair of the emergency department at NYU Langone, said that another danger of an illegal vaccination is that the vial could be a counterfeit vaccine. In April 2021, Pfizer became aware of fake Covid-19 vials in foreign countries. In Poland, criminals were creating fake Covid-19 vaccines that were actually vials of anti-wrinkle serum.

Nassau County Police Department is continuing to investigate.