The Red Cross nurse is suspected of injecting a harmless salt solution into people’s arms instead of genuine doses at a vaccination centre in Friesland, northern Germany
An anti-vax nurse is accused of injecting more than 8,000 people with a useless saline injection instead of the Covid vaccine.
The Red Cross nurse is suspected of injecting a harmless salt solution into people’s arms instead of genuine doses at a vaccination centre in Friesland.
Authorities in northern Germany have now appealed to thousands of people to get another shot of the jab.
“I am totally shocked by this episode,” Sven Ambrosy, a local councillor, said on Facebook as local authorities issued the call to around 8,600 residents who may have been affected.
While saline solution is harmless, most people who got vaccinated in Germany in March and April – when the suspected switch took place – are elderly people at high risk of catching the disease.
Police investigator Peter Beer, speaking at a news conference, said that based on witness statements there was “a reasonable suspicion of danger”.
CBS News reports that after the incident, authorities carried out antibody tests on more than 100 people who had visited the vaccination centre that day.
They were also invited to receive a follow-up inoculation because it was no longer possible to trace to who the six syringes had been administered.
During the police investigation it was said that there was increasing fears that a much larger group might have been affected.
According to the authorities, the case involves vaccinations administered between March 5 and April 20 at specific times.
The motive of the nurse, who was not named, was not clear but she had aired sceptical views about vaccines in social media posts, police investigators said.
It was not immediately clear whether the suspect had been arrested or charged in the case, which according to broadcaster NDR has been handed to a special unit that investigates politically motivated crimes.
It comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the country’s vaccination drive had slowed and those who have not had jabs will have to take tests to take a full part in public life.
The government said it will stop offering free tests from October 11 except for those for whom vaccination is not recommended.
It will also require people to be either vaccinated, test negative or have a recovery certificate to enter indoor restaurants, participate in religious ceremonies and do indoor sport.
Germany had made the tests free for all in March to help make a gradual return to normal life possible after months of lockdown.
While about 55 per cent of Germans are fully vaccinated, the pace of inoculations has slowed.