A Kroger spokeswoman said in a statement that “a small number of patients” received the empty shots at their The Little Clinic location in Midlothian, which is near Richmond.
“All impacted customers were contacted and have received their COVID-19 vaccine,” said Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager for Kroger mid-Atlantic in a statement. “We thank these customers for their understanding and have apologized for their inconvenience.”
The Virginia Department of Public Health told CNN that Kroger informed them that nine patients got the empty shots on Monday because the provider did not realize that the syringes were not prefilled.
“Kroger is taking steps to ensure that similar incidents don’t occur in the future,” a spokeswoman for the agency said in a statement.
“My initial reaction was shock and surprise, and a little anxiety,” she told WWBT.
Hawes was able to get the real vaccine at the clinic about two hours after getting the call.
“They were very clear with me when we went in,” she told WWBT. “They showed us the vial to make sure it was Johnson & Johnson, pulled out the vaccine, she showed me again.”
Kroger said that the mistake was “immediately addressed with the TLC team” and all vaccinators have been retrained and reminded of the current vaccination policies.
The grocery chain said that it has administered almost one million vaccines at its pharmacies and clinics around the United States.
On Thursday, the company said it was expanding its efforts to deliver a million doses each week.