German police probe nurse who used ‘saline solution in place of’ BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine

German police probe nurse who used 'saline solution in place of' BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine
The vaccination centre in Friesland. Photo: DPA
A nurse in Germany was under investigation Sunday after she admitted to swapping the coronavirus vaccine for a saline solution in six cases because she wanted to cover up that she had dropped a vial of BionTech/Pfizer.

Authorities are now urgently asking 200 people who were inoculated at the German Red Cross vaccination centre in Friesland last Wednesday to come forward to be tested for antibodies to determine which six people missed out on the vaccine.

Police in Wilhelmshaven/Friesland in northern Germany said in a statement they had opened a probe into possible “bodily harm” by the nurse, while stressing that the saline solution did not pose a health risk to those affected.

It is standard practice for the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine to be diluted with saline before it is administered, and it was the nurse’s role to prepare the jabs when she accidentally dropped one of the little bottles, wasting its contents.

READ ALSO: Can I get the AstraZeneca vaccine in Germany if I’m not on the priority list?

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She confessed her action to a colleague, who raised the alarm on Saturday.

“The woman said the reason for her action was to avoid having to inform anyone about the dropped vial,” the statement said.

The local district has set up a hotline for people who were vaccinated on the day of the incident to come forward so they can be tested.

“I am deeply shocked by the incident,” said Friesland district administrator Sven Ambrosy, adding that authorities have now introduced a “four eyes” procedure at the vaccination centre to make sure no one is left alone with the vials.


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  1. This unfortunate incident is such a great way to summarize what I have found it to be like to work in Germany. When somone makes a mistake they try to hide it and not own up to it. Then the organization rather than stressing personal accountability and ensuring you do the right thing just increases bueracracy demonstrating lack of trust in employees ability to (now) do the right thing.
    Perfect demonstration of toxic work culture that incentivises people to hide mistakes.

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