On Thursday morning at a vaccination center in Biella, Italy, a veteran nurse faced something she had never seen before.
The nurse, Filippa Bua, was preparing to give a man a dose of Covid vaccine when she realized that the small patch of arm he offered in a gap between his sweatshirt and T-shirt looked much pinker than his face.
When she touched it, she realized what was wrong.
“Rubber foam,” said Ms. Bua, 59. “It was made of rubber foam.”
The man — whose identity was not disclosed for privacy reasons — wore a thick theater corset covered in rubber foam, to which two foam arms were attached, according to Ms. Bua. She added that it was “quite well made.” His goal, she said, was to obtain a vaccination certificate, enabling him to go to work without actually getting the shot.
The stratagem was the latest and perhaps most original episode of vaccine evasion in the struggle between Italy’s government and the country’s anti-vaccine faction. Italy appears to have fewer vaccine skeptics than other European countries do, but, apparently, some in that camp are very determined.
About 13 percent of Italy’s adult population have not had a single shot, and cases have been rising since mid-October.