Giffer (dpa) – The situation of potential saline vaccines in the province of Friesland in Lower Saxony could affect many more than initially expected.
Instead of the previous 8,557 people, 1,626 people could have received syringes with saline, the district announced Friday. This increases the number of people who should now be vaccinated as quickly as possible to a total of 10,183.
District Administrator Sven Ambrosi (SPD) said other suspected cases became known during a more detailed examination of the accused nurse’s working hours. Comparing the known times from the shift roster to the woman’s actual working hours showed that she had taken on additional duties. Ambrosi said the number of potential victims is increasing. Of course, we will inform them immediately.” Vaccinations made between March 5 and April 24 may be affected. Previously, the region only assumed vaccinations until April 20.
The registered nurse, who worked at the area vaccination center, admitted that she filled six syringes, mostly with saline, on April 21. She had dropped a vaccine vial while being confused, and said she wanted to cover it up. The crime was revealed because the woman told her colleague about it. On Tuesday, the district and police announced that, according to other testimony, it could not be ruled out that the woman had withdrawn other syringes with saline. In order to make up for vaccines that may be missing, thousands of affected people must be revaccinated as a precautionary measure by the district. The accused asked her lawyer to explain to her that the act on April 21 was a one-time incident.
According to the information, about a tenth of the population of the region is now affected by subsequent vaccinations. “Of course, that’s a hideous thing,” Ambrosi said. Trust has been damaged and will have consequences for the vaccination campaign in the region. “But we’re still proclaiming: Get a vaccine.” Anyone who no longer wishes to receive the vaccination at the vaccination center in Friesland can also contact their family and company doctors.
The first follow-up vaccinations began Friday at the district vaccination center. A spokeswoman for the district said 200 to 400 people will be vaccinated each day at catch-up appointments. Staff has been increased for this. Neighboring vaccination centers also assist with subsequent vaccinations. A total of about 5,000 people had been registered for revaccination within three days by noon Friday.
Meanwhile, the police acknowledged a communication break occurred in the case. The defendant’s lawyer contradicted officials’ initial statements that his client had made the six syringes with saline alone in April. Police and Public Prosecution have now confirmed the lawyer’s information. Accordingly, the accused also stated in a preliminary interrogation that she filled the six syringes with vaccine residues from the remaining ampoules. “This has not been presented differently,” police said in their first contact on the case.
According to the police and the district, this information does not change the risk assessment on the basis of which subsequent vaccinations have now begun. District Director Ambrosi confirmed that mixing the remaining vaccines from different ampoules is illegal. “I would say that this does not lighten the burden, but rather confirms a certain intent to cover up, because a clear liquid is more noticeable than a somewhat cloudy one.” Saline solution alone is clear, while mixing with Biontech vaccine results in a cloudy substance. Ambrosi said the attorney general’s office is investigating an initial suspicion that the defendant’s vaccination card could have been tampered with, stressing that the county is being particularly vigilant.
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