Some 140 people who attended the vaccination center at Reims University Hospital in the town of Epernay, 130km northeast of Paris, erroneously received injections on Tuesday.
The injections contained normal saline, which is a harmless solution of sodium chloride dissolved in water. It can be applied externally to clean wounds and help with dry eyes, or it can be injected to treat dehydration, among other conditions. The error is therefore not expected to result in any serious health consequences.
The medical workers realized their mistake the following day and swiftly contacted those who had received normal saline shots instead of coronavirus vaccines. The patients were invited to talk to a doctor who could answer their questions, and make a new vaccination appointment.
Some of the affected patients received their real Covid-19 jabs on Friday, while the rest will have to wait until midweek to finally get vaccinated, France Bleu reported.
The health authorities said that they’ve investigated the incident, but haven’t explained how such a mistake was possible. A special medical officer was assigned to monitor the vaccination process at Reims University Hospital to ensure it continues to run smoothly, they added.
The French vaccination drive got off to a slow start in late December amid supply shortages in the EU. But its pace increased recently, with Prime Minister Jean Castex saying that 14 million people were expected to get their first dose by the end of this week, and 20 million by mid-May.
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