Less than 10 people have erroneously been administered with empty vaccine syringes at a Kroger clinic in Midlothian, Virginia. The people had gone in for their COVID-19 vaccine shots but had received no real shots even when they thought they had really been vaccinated. According to a Kroger spokesperson, the mistake occurred when an employee assumed that another employee had filled the syringes with the vaccines prior to the vaccination process.
“We apologize for this oversight and the inconvenience caused for these customers,” Kroger said in a statement. “All impacted customers were contacted and have now received the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The patients who were mistakenly believed to have the vaccines were notified and booked for another appointment where they were administered with the real Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shots. One of the affected persons, Carrie Hawes, said her initial reaction was shock and anxiety when she was notified that she must come for another vaccination since the first one was empty.
She reported that the officials were more careful and deliberate with everything when she went in again for the shots. She said the officials were upfront with what happened and took responsibility for their error, then showed her the COVID-19 vaccine vial to be certain before drawing it and then administering it on her.
Kroger has effectively given out over 830,000 vaccine shots across the United States before this mistake was recorded. The management said they have notified the Virginia Department of Health of what happened and that they are working closely with the local health authorities to resolve the issue. The grocery store chain also said they have conducted re-training for their clinic workers to ensure that they are more skilled at administering vaccines.
While many people have expressed mixed reactions to the incident, James Millner who got vaccinated earlier at the Kruger clinic said mistakes are bound to happen sometimes given the dread of the pandemic and the urgency with which the government wants everyone vaccinated in record time.
“This is a Herculean effort by the government and private industry working together to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Millner said. “Mistakes are going to happen in this process, I think that should be expected. But I think we should take it in stride, and it should certainly not deter anybody from seeking the vaccine or getting the vaccine.”
A few local residents said the incident will make people be doubtful of the wisdom of receiving the vaccines, especially people who had been hesitant to take them in the first place. They said it was reckless of the clinic workers to assume syringes were filled with vaccines when actually they were not. They urged workers to exercise more caution since they are dealing with people’s lives.