KEY POINTS

  • An alternative to a vaccine was to prove they recently recovered from an infection
  • The police busted a secret COVID-19 meetup held in the wake of the mandate 
  •  An infectious-disease specialist said this was equivalent to playing Russian roulette

Amid trending "COVID-19 parties," reports have emerged that desperate anti-vaxxers in Italy are paying those with the disease to infect them so they can avoid getting jabbed.

This bizarre practice comes in the wake of a new vaccine mandate that requires everyone over 50 to get vaccinated or risk a fine, reported The Daily Beast.  

The only way to evade getting a shot is to prove the person had recovered from the infection on his/her national health card. The deadline for the over-50 vaccine mandate is Feb. 1.

Since the new mandate was declared, the number of people offering to party with anti-vaxxers for a fee has risen. So have anti-vaxxers seeking those with infection. 

"I am urgently looking for a positive and I am willing to pay," one desperate anti-vaxxer was quoted by the report.

Recently, the Italian police had cracked down on a secret COVID-19 meetup. Another racket that offered a "truffle dinner with Barolo wine along with a positive-testing infection" for $150, was recently busted in the city of Tuscany.

Several such frauds are active in the city. A COVID-19-positive man ended up being charged after he tried to use the health card of an anti-vaxxer, in exchange for a sum. The pharmacy alerted the police after they found the credit card details and health card of the man did not match.

Such illegal scams and COVID-19 parities needed to be busted, infectious-disease specialist Pier Luigi Lopalco told Italian media.

"This uses the same logic as playing Russian roulette. For a person who has never had COVID, who has not been vaccinated, encountering this virus can mean a mild form of the disease, but it can also mean ending up in intensive care,” he said.

 "The discriminating factor between these two occurrences, probably, lies in genetics. And there is nothing that can be done to know in advance," Lopalco added.

He said it was impossible to predict whether the person will not have serious consequences or end up intubated.

This comes as many other countries reported similar COVID-19 parties, including Australia. According to reports, some people in Australia have resorted to attending so-called "COVID-19 parties" in an attempt to catch the virus and build immunity. The trend saw unvaccinated people deliberately exposing each other to the coronavirus instead of getting their jabs which the officials call "ridiculous."

A person holds a sign reading "No to mandatory vaccination" during a demonstration against Covid-19 vaccination in Brussels A person holds a sign reading "No to mandatory vaccination" during a demonstration against COVID-19 vaccination in Europe Photo: AFP / Aris Oikonomou