Virginia Kroger gave people 'empty syringes instead of the COVID-19 vaccine'

Multiple people who went to a clinic at a Virginia Kroger to receive the COVID-19 vaccine this week were instead mistakenly given empty syringes. 

A Kroger spokesperson confirmed to The Hill on Thursday that one of its The Little Clinic locations "made a mistake and administered empty syringes instead of the COVID-19 vaccine."

"All impacted customers were contacted and have now received the COVID-19 vaccine," the spokesperson added. "We apologize for this oversight and the inconvenience caused for these customers."

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A spokesperson for the grocery and pharmacy retailer told NBC’s Richmond affiliate station WWBT Wednesday that the incident occurred at its location in the suburban town of Midlothian. 

Kroger told local ABC affiliate WRIC that “less than 10” people were impacted by the mishap at The Little Clinic location, and also said that previous statements from the company saying that the syringes were filled with saline were determined to be incorrect following a more thorough investigation. 

Carrie Hawes, one of the individuals who received an empty shot, told WWBT that she received an appointment to get the Johnson & Johnson inoculation on Monday evening at the Kroger location. 

Hawes, who qualified for the vaccine under Group 1B for people 65 and younger with underlying medical conditions, told the local news outlet that she received a call the next day informing her of the mistake. 

“My initial reaction was shock and surprise, and a little anxiety,” she said, adding that she was able to return to the store within hours of the phone call to properly receive the vaccination. 

A Kroger spokesperson told The Hill that the company has been in contact with the Virginia Department of Health to address the issue, and that clinic workers have now been retrained on how to properly administer the vaccines. 

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The spokesperson said Thursday that the company has so far administered nearly 1 million coronavirus vaccines at its locations across the country. 

“Kroger encourages everyone to receive whichever vaccine is available to them at the earliest point they become eligible,” the spokesperson added. 

--Updated at 1:46 p.m.