Tokyo doctor accused of fake COVID vaccine documents says he gave saline shots

A doctor suspected of defrauding a municipal government for coronavirus vaccination commission payments has reportedly told Tokyo police that he administered saline solution to some people who came for jabs.

Police are investigating the possibility that he gave saline shots without consent from the recipients.

Funaki Takenori was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of fraud and other charges. The doctor who heads a clinic in Tokyo's Kita Ward is suspected of swindling Sapporo City, northern Japan, by forging documents claiming he gave COVID-19 shots to three people in the city.

Investigative sources say the suspect told police that he thought the vaccines were "harmful", and there were times when he gave saline solution to those who still wanted to get vaccinated after he explained the "risks" of COVID vaccines.

Ward officials says since January, multiple residents who received vaccinations at the clinic have asked for advice, saying their antibody levels remained low or they had no side effects.

The officials say they invited about 50 people with inoculation records at the clinic for antibody testing, and several of them were revaccinated.