GERMANY: Authorities in north Germany have asked more than 8,000 people to get another dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as they suspect a nurse may have instead injected them with benign saline solution in many cases.
Police are investigating the nurse’s actions at a vaccination centre in Friesland, near the North Sea coast.
In March and April, only six people were believed to have received the harmless salt solution.
According to the Police, a Red Cross employee confided in a colleague that she had dropped a vial of the Pfizer vaccine and later filled six syringes with saline so she wouldn’t get caught. The nurse was immediately fired, and more than 100 people caught in the trap at the clinic that day were invited back to receive a new shot.
However, further investigation revealed that the nurse might have been administering saline injections for several weeks.
While a saline injection is harmless, Reuters reports that the injections occurred early on in Germany’s vaccination program when people were at high risk for disease, including the elderly – the only ones approved for vaccination.
Regional broadcaster NDR says 8,557 people have been asked to go back for repeat vaccinations, and so far about 3,600 new appointments have been confirmed.
Inspector Peter Beer, quoted by Süddeutsche Zeitung, said the 40-year-old nurse had been sharing skepticism about Covid vaccines on social media, criticising the government’s restrictions aimed at curbing the virus’s spread.
The nurse’s motive remains unclear, the BBC reports that the nurse’s lawyers have denied the widespread nature of the saline injections and said she did not have a political motive for her actions.
More witnesses are being questioned and so far no charges have been reported in the case.
Germany has seen many anti-vaccination protests.
Far-right groups are among those who reject the official data and choose to dismiss conclusions about the spread of Covid.