POLICE in Brazil have launched an investigation after reports that pensioners have been injected with AIR rather than Covid vaccines.
Cops in Rio de Janeiro were alerted to the incidents after footage of healthcare workers allegedly pretending to inject elderly patients surfaced online.
Detectives are appealing to local government and health officials to help understand what happened to the doses, which were intended for high risk groups.
At least three cases have been reported in Rio state of what local media are calling “shots of air,” in which health workers administered fake vaccines from empty syringes.
Those involved in the incidents have been dismissed, with those who received the bogus shots given a real dose later on Rio’s state nursing council said in a note.
But if cops find that the vaccines were diverted elsewhere, those involved could be prosecuted for embezzlement and jailed for up to 12 years.
Footage posted online by angry relatives shows medical professionals allegedly pretending to inject elderly patients with an empty syringe – which could be fatal.
Other disturbing videos seem to show medics failing to push the plunger of the syringe to administer the vaccination.
Outraged Brazilians now fear that the procedures could be more widespread, giving their elderly relatives a false sense of security that they are protected by the vaccine.
Having air or gas injected into the body can prove to be fatal, depending where the blockage is.
If the gas travels to the brain the patient could suffer from seizures, fits or a stroke quickly after it is administered.
Patients who have been injected with air into a vein or lung could quickly die if they are not treated properly.
They could suffer from a heart attack, or a pulmonary embolism if the air blocks arteries leading to the heart or blood vessels to the lungs.
In one clip a nurse at a medical centre in Praia Grande, São Paulo, was challenged by the 87-year-old woman’s daughter after she noticed the liquid had not been administered properly.
The bemused relative, who did not want her mother identified, said that the incident happened on Friday 12 February around 10am.
She said: “The nurse put his hand in front and pushed the needle in for a second then quickly removed it. It happened too fast and I immediately noticed that he had not pressed the syringe.
“He asked my mother if the injection had hurt and told her she was free to go. But I said it was not over because he hadn’t actually given the dose.”
Within seconds of the complaint a ‘second’ shot was given on the elderly woman’s other arm with another needle, and this time the plunger was clearly pressed.
The daughter explained that she had been given permission to film as the jab was administered and decided to speak out not to cause ‘trouble’ but to raise awareness – warning others to “record everything”.
A spokesman for the city’s Health Department said: "When introducing the vaccine, the nurse technician who is a student realized that the needle was blocked, which can happen in any injectable procedure.
“He immediately exchanged the material for a new syringe and applied it in another location.”
The disturbing footage comes after Brits were warned about a multi-million pound scam of fake toxic Covid vaccines spreading across Europe.
In another incident on the same day, footage appears to show a 94-year-old woman being administered with air instead of the vaccine in Petropolis, Rio de Janeiro.
The video made by family members and shown on regional TV, shows an empty syringe at the time of the application.
The city council confirmed the flawed procedure had happened and the woman returned the following day to be properly vaccinated, with the nurse who administered the air being dismissed.
The Department of Health (DoH) in Brazil has stepped up its monitoring of the vaccine teams, reinforcing the protocols to be followed during the work to ensure transparency in the application of doses.
Brazil has the second highest death rate in the world from the killer virus, with more than 242,000 deaths and 9,978,747 cases.
It comes after weeks of protests against President Jair Bolsonaro for the government's handling of the pandemic, which has seen him downplay the seriousness of the virus.
Hundreds of people have taken to the streets in Brasilia to demand his resignation after failing to put any strict lockdown measures in place.
Doctors have warned that hospitals in Manaus, Amazonas, are being pushed to their limits with a lack of oxygen and that the situation could spread to other regions of Brazil.
In January Brazilian Supreme Court justice approved an investigation into Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello’s response to the crisis in Manaus.
Brazil started administering the Oxford/Astra Zeneca and Coronavac vaccines in January this year
Figures released by the Department of Health indicates that 5,505,049 people have received their first dose and 308,791 the second, with a total of 5.81 million Covid-19 vaccines applied.
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