Close to 9000 Germans will need to be vaccinated again after a nurse had swapped the COVID-19 vaccine with saline on multiple occasions, Reuters reported. The incident happened in early spring at a vaccination center in Friesland, a small district 62 miles (100 kilometers) North-West from the city of Bremen, Germany.
Back in April, we had reported how a mix-up at a pharmacy in North Carolina led to 22 people being injected with saline instead of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine used at the pharmacy is supplied with saline to be used as a diluent before the jab. While the same vaccine was used in Germany as well, there is no mix-up that led to this. Instead, the Red Cross nurse assigned to vaccinate people had her own reservations about the vaccine, police investigations have revealed.
To make matters worse, the people affected seem to be aged 70 or higher, a high-risk group for COVID-19 infections. The issue had first come to light when the nurse, aged 40, confided in a colleague about dropping a vial of the vaccine and using the saline for the scheduled vaccinations instead. The nurse was suspended from work and an investigation was ordered.
The local health authorities also attempted to use antibody tests to determine how many people were affected but the numbers were inconclusive. As the investigation furthered, police also found evidence of the nurse posting her critical views about the vaccine on social media.
Since the extent of her actions could not be determined, local health authorities have decided to vaccinate all those who were vaccinated at the center again between March 5 and April 20, local news media NDR reported.
While the injection with saline is harmless, the lack of vaccination dose poses a risk to the people in the area. The investigation is now being handled by a special unit to determine if the nurse's actions were politically motivated.