Nurse Who Pretended to Give COVID-19 Vaccine to Thousands of Elderly in Germany Avoids Prison

Nurse Who Pretended to Give COVID-19 Vaccine to Thousands of Elderly in Germany Avoids Prison
A nurse prepares the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in a file image. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)
Katabella Roberts

A nurse who injected thousands of elderly people with saline solution instead of a COVID-19 vaccine has avoided time in jail.

Red Cross nurse Antje T, 39, was found guilty of six counts of intentional assault by Oldenburg District Court in Lower Saxony state, Germany, on Nov. 30 and had her license revoked.

However, she was given just six months of probation, according to Daily Mail, although the verdict may be re-appealed.

According to prosecutors, the nurse injected around 8,600 elderly individuals, comprising mainly of hospital workers, educators, and doctors aged over 70 years with saline as opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The shots were administered between March 5 and April 2021 while the nurse was working at a vaccination center in Friesland, prosecutors said.

While saline injections are harmless, the individuals believed they were receiving the BioNTech Pfizer vaccine and were subsequently left without  “protection” against the virus, according to prosecutors.

Older people, particularly those with underlying health conditions, are more at risk of hospitalization or death from the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which recommends older adults get vaccinated.
Health officials noted that there was no indication that severe COVID-19 infections had occurred in the more than 8,000 individuals as a result of having saline injections instead of the vaccine.

Nurse ‘Shared Various Conspiracy Theories’ Online

Health authorities in Lower Saxony said that the nurse was able to replace the vials of vaccines with saline because she was responsible for the preparation of the shots and was preparing them during her working hours in the vaccination center.

However, she was reported in April last year by another employee who claimed to have witnessed her swapping the vaccines for saline solution and injecting it into six patients.

According to news agency DPA, the nurse told police and health officials at the time that it was a one-off accident and that she had used the saline solution because she had accidentally broken six vials of the Pfizer vaccine and was worried she might be fired from her job if she told management.

She also told police that the shots she administered to the individuals did contain the Pfizer vaccine but that it had been diluted with saline.

However, antibody tests were subsequently conducted on some of the individuals she had “vaccinated” by the nurse and revealed they had not been administered the Pfizer shot.

Police also noted a number of social media posts shared by the nurse expressing skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccines.

“The accused had shared various conspiracy theories on the Internet and on social media,” a court spokesperson said on Wednesday. “However, the chamber could not determine with the necessary certainty that this set of ideas was the motive for her actions and that she then acted to sabotage a vaccination campaign.”

The nurse was initially charged with 15 counts of intentional assault last year, but nine of them were later dropped due to a lack of evidence.