Kroger mistakenly used empty syringes instead of COVID-19 vaccine at Midlothian store

Company official called what happened an 'honest mistake'
Virus Outbreak Massachusetts
Posted at 5:45 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 08:53:35-05

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- Kroger is now clarifying a COVID-19 vaccine mishap that happened at one of its Central Virginia clinics.

A spokesperson initially told CBS 6 multiple people were mistakenly given a shot of saline instead of a Coronavirus vaccine at the Midlothian location, but now Kroger says that's not the case.

"After a thorough investigation we just received new information that customers were injected with empty syringes and not saline," said a Kroger Mid-Atlantic spokesperson.

Early Wednesday afternoon, Kroger sent CBS 6 an initial statement saying people expecting to be vaccinated against Coronavirus were instead administered saline as an "honest mistake." Hours later, Kroger rolled back on that statement after a spokesperson said they were misinformed.

In the initial statement, Kroger said everyone impacted was contacted and received a COVID-19 vaccine. A spokesperson confirmed less than ten people were affected.

CBS 6 spoke with one man who said it happened to him Monday during his initial appointment and had a feeling something was wrong.

"It stung a little bit going in. I always get my flu shot, and it kind of hurt a little bit more than that," he said. "But when I got the real shot, it was significantly different. I felt it immediately."

The man told CBS 6 he's happy the issue was resolved, and the employees were accommodating and apologetic when he returned to get the actual shot.

"My biggest concern was if they if they hadn't discovered it, even if there were only a few of us, you know, we all thought we'd gotten vaccinated," he said "And we really weren't. That's a false sense of security. So I'm very happy that somehow they figured out what happened."

As of Wednesday night, he said Kroger has not reached out to him since revealing the syringe was empty.

According to health experts, injecting someone with an empty syringe can pump air into a person's body which can block blood flow.

Kroger said all vaccinators at the Midlothian clinic have been re-trained and the company is working closely with The Virginia Department of Health to address the matter.

CBS 6 asked Kroger how something like this could happen, and we have not received a response to that question.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip. Stay with and watch CBS 6 News for updates as new information becomes available.