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Patient injected with empty syringe at UCHealth COVID-19 vaccination clinic

Spokesperson says incident was isolated to this one case
COVID-19 Vaccine
Posted at 3:01 PM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-05 18:59:51-05

SOUTHERN COLORADO — News 5 Investigates was first to uncover a contracted nurse injected a patient with an empty syringe at the Pueblo Mall's COVID-19 clinic last month.

Our report resulted in health leaders calling a press conference and promoting new safety protocols and better oversight to ensure an issue like this does not happen again.

Since then, News 5 has learned about a second vaccine error, this time with a UCHealth clinic in Colorado Springs.

"Stuff happens periodically and we address it, we fix it and we move on," Pueblo Public Health Director Randy Evetts said last week.

Evetts talked with News 5 about the safety enhancements made after Rosalee Pike, 82, was accidentally injected with an empty syringe.

Shortly after this story aired, News 5 Investigates received the following message from another viewer:

"The problem with empty vaccine syringes is not unique to Pueblo. UCHealth administered an empty syringe dose to someone also. This occurred at their MAC building vaccine clinic in Colorado Springs on Pikes Peak Avenue. I know this because I saw the safety report written on the occurrence. That patient also had to have a second injection of an actual vaccine."

This was the first News 5 had heard about a second empty injected being administered in Colorado.

We reached out to UCHealth for an explanation.

Cary Vogrin, a spokesperson for UCHealth released the following statement:

UCHealth has been at the forefront of COVID-19 vaccine administration in Colorado and has provided more than 118,000 doses across the state since Dec. 14. We are honored to perform this work, and many at UCHealth describe it as one of the most meaningful and satisfying experiences of their career. Safety is our No. 1 priority in everything we do, and while perfection is our aim, human errors do occur. A new, unfilled syringe was mistakenly used during one of our vaccine clinics last week. The administering nurse immediately flagged the situation and fully informed the patient as to what happened. An inventory of doses – done on the spot when the nurse noticed the error - confirmed the situation, and the patient was then given a vaccination. UCHealth always reviews processes and protocols and constantly strives to enhance our safety precautions.

Out of the 118,000 doses administered statewide as of Wednesday, Feb. 3---22,000 vaccinations occurred at our local UCHealth clinics in southern Colorado.

Vogrin says the vast majority of COVID-19 vaccinations in our region occurred at the Memorial Administrative Center (MAC). The other location is at Memorial North.

UCHealth also has participated in a few off-site clinics where they bring COVID-19 vaccines to other facilities.

This story came to us through a viewer news tip. Have something you'd like News 5 Investigates to look into and verify? Email us: