Long Island high school teacher who administered at-home COVID vaccine to teen faces felony charge

NASSAU COUNTY, Long Island (WABC) -- One Long Island high school teacher is now facing a class E felony for administering a COVID vaccine to a teen at her home.

Laura Parker Russo, a biology teacher from Herricks High School, left the Nassau County courthouse Friday without bail.

In a Snapchat video, Russo is seen administering a COVID vaccine to a 17-year-old boy, a friend of her son.

The incident happened on New Years Eve inside her home in Sea Cliff. Prosecutors say she told the boy it was a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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"I don't know what her motivation was, obviously," Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly said. "As you're aware, there was a video made of it. It was almost treated as if they were doing something funny. And it's not funny when you're breaking the law and injecting children."

Russo, a teacher for 35 years with six kids of her own, is now reassigned at home.

While Russo is not a licensed medical professional, her defense attorney Michael DerGarabedian argued that she has diabetic family members and is "constantly giving medicine."

"There was no ill-intented motive," DerGarabedian said. "She wasn't making money. She wasn't trying to hurt anybody. So figure it out yourself. She was trying to do good."

Still, what happened can't be undone and the shock in this small community reverberates.

"I said who would do that, you know?" Sea Cliff resident Barbara Rontondo said. "It just seemed weird to me."

Her neighbors here in Sea Cliff describe Russo as a good person who made a poor choice.

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What's more the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only meant for people ages 18 and up.

Investigators still trying to figure out if it was the COVID vaccine that was administer and if so, who gave it to Russo.

Russo is due back in court on January 25.

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