Police in Brazil has commenced an investigation into allegations that some health workers were using fake COVID-19 vaccines or using empty syringes.
The Brazilian media has dubbed it ‘wind vaccination’. So far, there have been similar reports in four states.
Police initiated an investigation into the reports on February 17, while the nurses were also said to be plotting to sell the vaccine on the black market.
“At first it seemed like an individual case, but it’s very worrying to see it in so many places,” said Carla Domingos, an epidemiologist who worked for Brazil’s National Vaccine Program from 2011 to 2019.
“Either the training of these medical professionals is poor or they don’t believe in vaccines, in both cases it is unacceptable,” she said.
According to the Rio State Police, if anything goes wrong with the vaccination process, those responsible will be prosecuted for fraud and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
A video made by a relative has gone viral and was broadcast in the local media, showing a nurse injecting an empty syringe into the arm of a 94-year-old woman at a vaccination centre in the city of Petropoulos. ۔
The nurse was suspended after the video went viral and police and other agencies launched an investigation.
“We’re waiting for the investigation to be completed, but I can’t believe it was done on purpose,” said city health secretary Aloísio Barbosa Filho.
The nurse seen in the viral video is said to have 10 years of nursing experience and was trained in vaccination protocols.
“During the early days of the vaccination, the nurse may have experienced some pressure and made a mistake, but in any case this is unacceptable,” the health secretary said.
He said 7,000 people had been vaccinated in the city and only one such incident had been reported.
Brazil has had several problems with the coronavirus vaccine.
One month after the nationwide campaign, vaccinations have been suspended in several states due to delays in importing vaccine doses.
A group of Brazilian mayors is also demanding the resignation of the health minister.
The health minister is also facing an investigation into a severe shortage of oxygen in a city.
More than 241,000 people have died in Brazil as a result of the code, but the Brazilian president is questioning the effectiveness of vaccinations.