A nurse in Germany is accused of switching COVID-19 vaccines with saline, resulting in thousands of people needing to be vaccinated again.
CNN reports the nurse replaced the vaccinations between March and April at Roffhausen Immunization Center in Friesland, a rural district in Northwest Germany. Health officials claim the nurse was able to swap the vaccine out with a placebo because she was “responsible for the preparation of vaccines and the preparation of syringes during her working hours in the vaccination center.”
Sven Ambrosy, the Friesland district administrator, acknowledged the incident in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
“Today I had the sad duty to inform around 8,600 people who may have been affected that it cannot be ruled out they may have received a saline solution instead of their vaccination at their vaccination appointment,” Ambrosy said. “For peace of mind we would recommend people get an additional vaccination. I’m totally shocked by the incident. The district of Friesland will do everything possible to ensure that the affected people receive their vaccination protection as soon as possible.”
The Lower Saxony government’s coronavirus crisis team, which is overseeing the case, told reporters on Tuesday that police believe the nurse was “motivated to oppose the vaccination.”
“The investigations of the police have shown the person (involved) was motivated to oppose the vaccination…since she remains silent with police, we do not know whether and to what extent she was manipulated during this period,” Claudia Schröder, the deputy head of the Lower Saxony coronavirus team, said in a statement.
“We do not know many people were specifically affected, and we are talking here about a period of seven weeks, so it is also a large number of people who come into consideration,” Schröder added.
It was not immediately clear whether the suspect had been arrested or charged in the case.
In June, a Wisconsin pharmacist who purposely sabotaged hundreds of COVID-19 vaccine doses, believing them to be unsafe, was sentenced to three years in prison.