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Australia: How suspicion was raised over alleged fake vaccine injection

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The Perth nurse allegedly caught giving a teenager a fake coronavirus injection may have put an unknown number of lives at risk, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has warned.

"It almost is unbelievable," AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said, describing the arrest of 51-year-old Christina Hartmann Benz after a "vigilant" doctor at a private Perth medical clinic allegedly watched her put a needle into a teen's arm but not inject the liquid.

"Not only is it potentially illegal, almost certainly unprofessional, but it's also putting the lives of those individuals who've availed themselves of her service actually at risk."

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Christina Hartmann Benz, 51, has been charged with fraud after allegedly faking an injection of the COVID-19 vaccine into the arm of a teenager. © 9News Christina Hartmann Benz, 51, has been charged with fraud after allegedly faking an injection of the COVID-19 vaccine into the arm of a teenager.

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Dr Khorshid said "luckily" these alleged events are "extremely rare".

Eyebrows were raised, Dr Khorshid told Today, when an unusual number of people allegedly began booking their vaccine jabs specifically with Ms Hartmann Benz at the Victoria Park Respiratory Clinic.

"There were suspicions within the practice that something wasn't quite right," he said.

"You wouldn't expect large numbers to be coming and saying 'I want that nurse.'

"That's very unusual."

During Ms Hartmann Benz's vaccine appointments, the door had allegedly always been closed while giving injections.

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Dr Khorshid said a "very vigilant" doctor had done "the right thing" and observed Ms Hartmann Benz allegedly stick the needle into a 15-year-old's arm but not inject the vaccine.

The syringe was then allegedly disposed of, still containing a full dose.

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Christina Hartmann Benz, 51, has been charged with fraud after allegedly faking an injection of the COVID-19 vaccine into the arm of a teenager. © 9News Christina Hartmann Benz, 51, has been charged with fraud after allegedly faking an injection of the COVID-19 vaccine into the arm of a teenager.

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Police are now investigating at least 25 other appointments where Ms Hartmann Benz allegedly administered the vaccine.

Police will also allege Ms Hartmann Benz entered another medical staffer's name into the system for giving the 15-year-old the vaccine, and allegedly stating the teenager had been successfully vaccinated.

Perth Magistrate Jennifer Hawkins granted Ms Hartmann Benz strict bail yesterday, including conditions she could not contact anyone she had allegedly vaccinated or use social media.

She has been charged with gaining benefit by fraud.

Ms Hartmann Benz had been working at the clinic for less than a week before police were alerted.

Western Australia currently has the slowest vaccination rate in the country, with 66.8 per cent of eligible people jabbed twice.

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