8,577 German citizens need to be re-vaccinated against the coronavirus after a nurse likely injected them with a saline solution instead of a vaccine, according to reports in local news.
In April, the nurse already admitted that she had filled six syringes with saline solution instead of the Pfizer vaccine to cover up the fact that she dropped a full vaccine vial on the floor, reports German broadcaster NDR.
However, investigations now show that the nurse is suspected of having systematically injected people with saline solution.
"We do not know how many of the 8,557 citizens were not vaccinated or only partially vaccinated," the head of the Lower Saxony Corona Crisis team, Heiger Scholz, told NDR on Tuesday.
"It may be that only every third syringe was manipulated, it may be that there are no further cases," he added. "Unfortunately, the woman is not cooperating with the police, she is silent."
- 'Final sprint to the finish': Flemish vaccination campaign coming to an end
- Covid-19: Patients in ICU up by more than one-third
- 1,000 Brussels residents who were vaccinated abroad now also registered
It concerns people from high-risk groups, such as those aged 70 and above, as well as people with a disability living in the German district of Friesland.
It is not clear why the nurse did not want to administer the vaccines, but reports on social media indicated that she had been sceptical about coronavirus vaccines, according to local media.
In the meantime, the district is asking all people who were vaccinated in the Roffhausen vaccination centre between 5 March and 20 April 2021 to come forward, as it cannot be ruled out that they only received a saline solution.
"The fact that we have to launch this appeal makes me very concerned, because many of our citizens may now not have the vaccination protection they wanted, that they are entitled to," said District Administrator Sven Ambrosy.
"The most important thing for us now is to inform these people, to answer their questions and to offer further vaccination," he added. "I therefore ask all citizens to contact us if they have received a vaccination during the period mentioned."
Affected citizens can be re-vaccinated at the vaccination centres in Friesland, Wilhelmshaven, Ammerland and Wittmund. Even if the vaccination was successful, it is harmless to have another shot.
The saline solution has no health side effects.