A German nurse with anti-vaccination views is under investigation after allegedly injecting thousands of patients in Friesland with a saline solution instead of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Witness testimony has led police investigator Peter Beer to believe that is “a reasonable suspicion” that the nurse administered the placebo to as many as 8,600 people who believed they were receiving the COVID-19 shot, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
The medical professional was reportedly a Red Cross nurse, and it is unclear why she injected people with saline instead of the real vaccine. However, investigators found she had posted “anti-vax” material on social media.
“I am totally shocked by this episode,” Sven Ambrosy, a local councilor, said regarding the allegedly fake injection.
According to Reuters, it is unknown if the suspect was arrested or charged, but the case has been given to a special unit that investigates politically motivated criminal activity.
“The district of Friesland will do everything possible to ensure that the affected people receive their vaccination protection as soon as possible,” Ambrosy wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
The German nurse isn’t the first medical professional to reject the COVID-19 vaccine. In June, 178 employees of a Houston-based hospital system were suspended without pay for two weeks for refusing to get inoculated.
In an internal memo reviewed by the Washington Post, Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom said almost 25,000 employees within the health care system were fully vaccinated.
“Of these employees, 27 have received one dose of vaccine, so I am hopeful they will get their second doses soon,” Boom wrote.
“I know that today may be difficult for some who are sad about losing a colleague who’s decided to not get vaccinated. We only wish them well and thank them for their past service to our community, and we must respect the decision they made.”
Boom said 285 staffers were granted a medical or religious exemption, and 332 others were given deferrals due to a myriad of reasons, including pregnancy.
One hundred and seventeen other employees sued the hospital system, asserting the vaccination requirement was a violation of their rights.
“No one should be forced to put something into their body if they’re not comfortable with it,” said Jennifer Bridges, a nurse who has worked for Houston Methodist for over six years and has strongly opposed the policy.
“I’m not anti-vaccine,” Bridge said last month. “I’ve had every vaccine known to man, except this one. As nurses and medical staff, everybody feels like you should have a right to choose what you put in your body.”