Nurse accidentally administers empty syringe at Colorado COVID-19 vaccine clinic

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A contract nurse working at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Pueblo, Colo., accidentally administered an empty syringe to a patient, local news station FOX 21 reported Jan. 21. 

Health officials at the clinic notified the patient, Rosalee Pike, 82, that there was a problem with her vaccine while she was in the site's post-COVID-19 vaccination zone, her grandaughter told local NBC affiliate KOAA.
 
Jamie Withnell, Ms. Pike's granddaughter, took a picture of her grandmother as she received the vaccine. In the photo shared with KOAA, the vaccine syringe appears empty. 
 
In an incident report obtained by KOAA, the medical staff worker who administered the vaccine wrote, "Prefilled syringes had been delivered to my work station. When I took a syringe and injected the vaccine -- the syringe was empty." 

In a statement shared with FOX 21, a spokesperson from the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment said the syringe was new since routine safety protocol requires used syringes be discarded immediately. The health department identified the mistake through "normal safety processes," and provided the patient with a COVID-19 vaccination after determining the person was safe. 

"We have since instituted additional safety measures to ensure this doesn't happen again — limiting the number of people filling syringes and having fewer additional people in the room. We are reviewing safety protocols with all contracted-nurses again and provide safety briefing each day before the vaccination clinics begin," the statement said. 

Editor's note: This report was updated Jan. 27 at 9 a.m. CST. 

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