Walgreens is having a rough time on the public relations front, as incidents keep arising where they are allegedly mixing up flu shots with coronavirus vaccines.
A family in Evansville, Indiana, said they were all given adult doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine instead of the flu shot on Oct. 4, WFIE-TV reported.
The family’s two children are 4 and 5 years old, and the Pfizer vaccine has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for their age group.
Attorney Daniel Tuley, who is representing the family, said Walgreens contacted the family after their appointment to admit the mistake, and ended up issuing them all coronavirus vaccination cards.
While accidentally receiving the shot is likely not a health risk for the parents, there is cause for concern for the children that were injected with the full adult dosage.
Tuley told WFIE that both children have seen a pediatric cardiologist, and both are exhibiting symptoms of heart problems.
In addition to possible heart issues, the 4-year-old is also reportedly having a reaction to the vaccine and is sick with a fever and cough.
On Monday, the outlet obtained a statement from Walgreens about the situation.
“Due to privacy laws, we cannot comment on specific patient events. However, in general, such instances are rare and Walgreens takes these matters very seriously. In the event of any error, our first concern is always our patients’ well-being. Our multi-step vaccination procedure includes several safety checks to minimize the chance of human error and we have reviewed this process with our pharmacy staff in order to prevent such occurrences,” the company said.
Similar stories from Walgreens have emerged in recent weeks, including one incident where a 4-year-old girl in Baltimore, Maryland, dealt with the same mix-up.
Savannah Courtad, a 19-year-old from Scottsdale, Arizona, explained in a viral Instagram post that she never consented to receive the coronavirus vaccine when she went in for her flu shot.
“Nurses can’t just go around injecting people with the wrong shot,” Courtad said.
“I never gave consent for the COVID-19 vaccine to be injected into my body. Regardless of one’s position on this vaccine I would hope that we can all agree that having something injected into your body should be your CHOICE.”
Even though these situations are rare in the grand scheme of things, Walgreens needs to get its act together to ensure its process is fool-proof.
These stories will continue to fuel distrust in their company — and for good reason.
If you are nervous about a mix-up occurring while getting your flu shot this fall, the best thing you can do is to ask to read the label first.
Personally, I already received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, so I made sure the label on my flu shot said “Influenza vaccine” before the pharmacist at my local grocery store injected it.
The pharmacist judged me for being cautious about what I was putting into my body, as he said, “There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” but that attitude should not discourage you from advocating for your own health.
It is certainly a complicated and overwhelming time for healthcare workers, which means patients need to be extra cautious as well.