Forty-two families in Spain are pursuing a lawsuit against a nurse who they say falsified the process of routinely administering vaccines to their children, their lawyer said Thursday.
The nurse worked for 18 months in a government clinic in Santurtzi, near the city of Bilbao, in the Basque region of northern Spain, according to lawyer Aitzol Asla.
The Regional Health Service launched an investigation in October after receiving complaints about the health worker’s behaviour.
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When parents brought their children to be vaccinated, Asla said, the nurse would inject them “very secretly, very quickly” and then “throw the vial straight into the trash can.” Some of the parents “saw (the vial) was still full,” she added.
The nurse, who has not been identified, has also made frequent comments disparaging the vaccines, the attorney said.
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When health officials tested the blood of affected children, many were found to lack the antibodies one would expect from receiving the vaccines. The legal case centers on the nurse’s falsification of vaccine records, which showed vaccines were administered when they allegedly hadn’t been, and misuse of public funds by throwing away unused medicines.
In addition to the families who filed a lawsuit, Spanish media reported that up to 400 children could be affected.
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Asla is now awaiting court instructions for the families to appear and testify after she dropped the case last month, and said the parents want the nurse barred from working in the public health system.
Anti-vaccine sentiment is generally rare in Spain. The country has the second-highest public confidence in vaccines in the European Union after Portugal, according to EU statistics released last year. Statistics from the Spanish government show that uptake of most childhood vaccinations is over 90%.