85-year-old woman was one of 22 who ‘mistakenly’ received saline shot at N.C. Walgreens

Updated: Apr. 19, 2021 at 9:50 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Joyce Funderburk, an 85-year-old woman, got a ride from her son David to the Walgreens on Fincher Street in Monroe for her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

It’s about a 25-minute drive from where they live in Peachland.

She was expecting to receive her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Instead, she mistakenly got a shot of saline.

She left the pharmacy thinking that her vaccination went well, until she got a call from the pharmacy later that day.

“Everybody got the saline solution, they didn’t get the vaccine solution,” David said.

David said the pharmacist told him it was just a mistake.

“The person that was giving the shot had never given the Pfizer shot before and it has to be mixed and she didn’t know that,” David said.

Joyce Funderburk went back for her real first dose the next day.

She was one of nearly two dozen people who mistakenly received saline injection instead of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine at the Walgreens in Monroe, North Carolina.

“We recently learned of a limited number of patients who did not receive the vaccine at one of our Monroe, North Carolina locations and instead received an injection of saline, the diluent used to prepare Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines,” a Walgreens spokesperson said.

‘It took a long time’: 85-year-old woman was one of 22 who ‘mistakenly’ received saline shot at...
‘It took a long time’: 85-year-old woman was one of 22 who ‘mistakenly’ received saline shot at Monroe Walgreens(WBTV)

Walgreens said it reached out to all impacted patients and gave them the COVID-19 vaccination as soon they were able to return to the pharmacy.

“In alignment with CDC recommendations, immediate corrective actions were taken. We reached out to all impacted patients and administered a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as the impacted patients were available to return to the pharmacy,” the Walgreens spokesperson said.

Joyce Funderburk said she ran into more issues when it came time for her second dose this past weekend.

“We rode around half a day this past Saturday because they said they didn’t have my shot,” Joyce Funderburk said.

The Funderburks said they called Walgreens and were told to go to a location in Charlotte, but when they got there, they were only offering Moderna.

David then called the Monroe location again and was told Joyce was in fact on the list there.

“It was just strange that nobody knew anything and trying to get the answer nobody was able to give an answer,” David said.

Joyce finally got her second dose at the same location of her first dose.

“I asked them, ‘this is mixed, right?’” he said. “She said, ‘yes sir, it is.’”

An extra appointment and several extra hours in the car later, she says it was worth it.

However, Joyce Funderburk hopes other people have an easier time.

“It took a long time to get here but I’m glad it’s over with now,” she said.

Walgreens says it has administered more than 8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to date, including 4 million in March alone.

“It’s also very important to note there is no reason to believe there is harm to any of these patients. We continue to strengthen our operating procedures and are committed to this not occurring again,” Walgreens said.

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