Northern German authorities appealed to thousands of people to get another shot of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.
This is due to a police investigation revealing that a nurse working at the Red Cross may
have used a saline solution instead of a vaccine.
The nurse is accused of injecting a non-genuine dose of salt solution into people’s arms at
a vaccination centre in Friesland in early spring.
Friesland is a district in the countryside near the coast of the North Sea.
“This episode shocked me,” Sven Ambrosy, a local councillor, posted on Facebook.
After the incident, authorities conducted health checks on over 100 people who visited the
vaccination centre that day.
The authorities have called about 8,600 residents whom this incident affected.
However, police investigations say the incident has affected a much larger group.
Authorities will contact all affected individuals directly to receive a new vaccine dose and an
antibody test to check their vaccination status.
The new doses are “safe,” out of the usual vaccination interval, said officials
coordinating with the government’s health agency.
The suspected switch incident took place from March to April.
Although saline is harmless, most vaccinated people in Germany were older adults at high
risk of getting infected during that period.
At a news conference, police investigator Peter Beer said there was a reasonable suspicion
of danger based on witnesses’ statements.
The motives of the unnamed nurse are unclear, but a social media post suggested she
had a sceptical view of the vaccine, police investigators said.
They did not immediately confirmed whether the police arrested the suspect or presented
According to broadcaster NDR, a particular unit for political crimes took over the case file.
Local police refused to give any comments after working hours.