Scan here: Italian tattoos Covid vaccine pass on arm

ROME (AFP) - A 22-year-old student in Italy has become an unexpected Internet sensation after tattooing the barcode of his Covid certificate on his arm.

Andrea Colonnetta said he hadn’t given much thought in advance before getting his latest tattoo, but decided on the topical -- and practical -- choice after talking with tattoo artist Gabriele Pellerone.

"It’s certainly something original, I like to be different," Colonnetta, from the southern city of Reggio Calabria, told Corriere della Calabria newspaper.

The underside of Colonnetta’s left arm now bears a matrix of black squares from the QR code of his official Italian green pass.

The pass gives proof of coronavirus status -- that you are vaccinated, have recovered from the virus or tested negative in the last 48 hours.

An extension of the EU’s digital Covid certificate, it has been required in Italy since August 6 to get into cinemas, museums and indoor sports venues or to eat indoors at restaurants.

Colonnetta, who said he had received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine, said although he has received lots of attention on Instagram and TikTok, his parents were left a bit perplexed.

"Certainly they encouraged me to be less impulsive and to better reflect on things..." he told the paper.

But his new barcode works, he said: a video posted on TikTok by Pellerone shows a masked Colonnetta entering McDonald’s and lifting his arm to take a photo of his tattoo.

A security guard at the entrance is seen scanning Colonnetta’s photo before the video ends abruptly -- leaving it unclear whether Colonnetta ultimately got his Big Mac or not.