At least 8,600 people in Germany might need to get fresh shots after authorities said that a nurse was being investigated for swapping Covid-19 vaccines for saline solution.
The 40-year-old nurse is suspected of administering saline solution instead of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to six people at the German Red Cross vaccination centre — in Friesland, a rural district near the North Sea coast — in April. Authorities are now calling all 8,600 people that were vaccinated between 5 March to 20 April to get another vaccine shot, as a precautionary measure.
Police believe that the nurse might have swapped out the vaccine shots on multiple occasions, according to a Business Insider report. It is, however, unclear, how many of the 8,600 people were given saline shots by the nurse.
The nurse has not been cooperative, the police told the media.
Claudia Schröder, the deputy head of the Lower Saxony corona crisis team, told the German public radio broadcaster NDR: “Since we do not know whether, how many and who is specifically affected, and we are talking about a period of seven weeks, we have offered everyone to carry out a repeat.”
She added: “A repeat vaccination is advisable even then and unproblematic if the vaccination was successful. That would not increase the protection in that case, but it is completely harmless. And so this is now the method of choice.”
The nurse has since been suspended from her job. Reports said that she was caught on Saturday only after she confided in a colleague.
Peter Beer, police investigator, also told the media that, based on witness statements, there was “a reasonable suspicion of danger.”
Investigators told the media that the nurse had previously also shared critical posts about vaccines on social media.
57.3 per cent of the German population has been fully vaccinated so far, according to official figures.
Meanwhile, those affected by the nurse’s swapping of Covid vaccines include people over 70 who visited the Friesland vaccination centre, as well as employees of hospices, mobile care services, educators, and doctors.
Sven Ambrosy, a local councillor, said on Facebook: “I am totally shocked by this episode.”
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