An anti-vaxxer German nurse accused of injecting up to 8,600 people with saline solution instead of a Covid-19 vaccine has said she diluted the jab only once to save her job.
A lawyer for the Red Cross nurse, 40, said she diluted the jab with saline solution in a ‘one time incident’ after she panicked she would lose her job for breaking a vial of vaccine.
Police have accused the nurse of injecting patients with saline on six occasions, but investigators believe the deception was more widespread.
The unnamed nurse has been fired and thousands of people who received their first jab at a vaccination centre in Friesland in March and April and may have been affected have been urged get another jab.
An anti-vaxxer German nurse (not pictured) accused of injecting up to 8,600 people with saline solution instead of a Covid-19 vaccine has said she diluted the jab only once to save her job (file photo)
A lawyer for the Red Cross nurse, 40, said she diluted the jab with saline solution in a ‘one time incident’ at at Friesland vaccination centre (pictured) after she panicked she would lose her job for breaking a vial of vaccine
The nurse’s lawyer Christoph Klatt said the nurse replaced the broken vial with saline solution after panicking she would lose her job over the mistake.
A spokesperson for the Oldenburg public prosecutor confirmed the nurse gave the same information in questioning, telling investigators she split vaccine residues from two vials into six syringes.
Klatt also said jabs given to patients were diluted shots of the vaccine but maintained his client only did it once.
However witnesses from the vaccination centre told police they believed she injected patients with saline solution more frequently.
Police said the unnamed suspect had aired sceptical views about vaccines in social media posts but Klatt said his client was fully jabbed.
‘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 potentially fatal viral disease.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the state would stop paying for Covid-19 tests for unvaccinated residents by October in an effort to encourage more people to get the jab (file photo)
At least 3,600 potentially affected people had made new appointments by Friday and nearly 2,000 more had reached out to the information hotline.
‘The citizens are reacting very prudently,’ a spokeswoman for the state Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
She added there was no evidence people injected with saline solution had later become seriously ill with Covid-19.
Police investigator Peter Beer, speaking earlier at a news conference covered by German media, said that based on witness statements there was ‘a reasonable suspicion of danger’.
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.
Local police declined to comment outside of normal working hours.
It comes as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the state would stop paying for Covid-19 tests for unvaccinated residents by October in an effort to encourage more people to get the jab.
Merkel said free testing will end on October 11 because all citizens are now eligible for the vaccine.
Around 55 per cent of Germans are fully vaccinated, but the pace of inoculations has slowed and Merkel has said she wants to see at least 75 per cent of the population jabbed.
Germany had made the tests free for all in March to help make a gradual return to normal life possible after months of lockdown.
From October, unvaccinated residents will have to pay for their own tests but teenagers, children, and people who cannot get the jab for medical reasons will be exempt.
The government 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.