Aug 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Nurse in Germany suspected of swapping COVID vaccine with saline solution

A woman receives her second vaccination with the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine at the Hamburg Vaccination Center

A woman receives her second vaccination with the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine in Hamburg, Germany. Photo: Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images

Thousands in Germany are set to be revaccinated after it was discovered that a nurse had injected patients with a saline solution in place of a COVID vaccine, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The nurse, who has not been identified, admitted to injecting a few patients with saline but antibody testing showed a much wider group of people may have been impacted. About 8,600 people may have received the salt solution instead of the genuine vaccine, leaving them at risk.

  • A lawyer representing the nurse told the German news service DPA that she had switched a single vial, per the New York Times.

The big picture: Many of the people who got vaccinated when the suspected switch took place were elderly people at high risk of catching the virus, per Reuters.

  • The nurse had previously shared vaccine-skeptical posts on social media, per the Post.

What they're saying: "I am totally shocked by this episode," Sven Ambrosy, a local councilor, said on Tuesday, per Reuters.

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