Pharmacy apologizes after giving Richland Center couple the wrong vaccine

“If they’re that busy they need to slow down because this is serious. Once it’s in your body it can’t be taken out,” said Valerie Leffler.
A Richland County woman says she and her husband received the wrong vaccines at a local pharmacy.
Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 6:36 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2021 at 6:49 PM CST
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RICHLAND CENTER, Wis. (WMTV) - A Richland County woman says she and her husband received the wrong vaccines at a local pharmacy.

It happened at Center Pharmacy in Richland Center last week. Valerie Leffler says she arrived at the pharmacy with her husband for their annual flu shots and were given vaccines after filling out paperwork.

Leffler says she chose Center Pharmacy because she’s been a customer there for years and has a good relationship with Bruce, her pharmacist.

She says this visit left her feeling shocked, however. An hour after getting what they thought were flu shots, Leffler says she and her husband returned home to learn that the pharmacy accidently gave them COVID-19 shots. Leffler says their pharmacist immediately called to inform them when the mistake was realized.

“It was a little concerning just because I’ve already had the vaccine so he explained I’m old enough I could get the booster but my husband was very adamant he did not want the vaccine so I’m more upset for that,” said Leffler.

The pharmacist was apologetic and explained the mistake was made during a busy day where they had been administering COVID-19 vaccines.

“They are always very busy and I know the day we were there, there was another couple waiting to get shots so I honestly don’t know if it’s because they are short staffed or they just assumed we were getting COVID shots,” she said.

Leffler says she understand it was a mistake and will continue to give her business to Center Pharmacy but wants to share her story to raise awareness that everyone should be more careful and either follow proper protocols for vaccine administration or implement new ones.

“Especially now that there are so many children getting the COVID shot. We need to have more protocols in place. Maybe if it’s that busy only do flu shots on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the COVID shots the other days or create a color system where paperwork for Flu shots are one color and paperwork for COVID vaccines are another color,” said Leffler.

NBC15 reached out to the owner of Center Pharmacy. Michelle Farrell also owns Boscobel Pharmacy. Farrell stated that a review of the situation shows that there were steps missed in their protocol resulting in the mistake. She says she’s working with her staff to ensure this never happens again.

NBC15 also reached out to officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to learn if any action might be taken against the pharmacy. DHS officials say when a vaccine administration error occurs, vaccinators are strongly encouraged to report it to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

However, vaccinators are only required to make the report if an adverse event follows as a result of the the error. In this case Leffler says she and her husband did not experience any adverse reactions.

Leffler encourages everyone to speak up at health care organizations and ask the provider to double check before giving injections or medication or carrying out procedures. “We really need to be advocates for our own health especially if you’re a caregiver or parent.” she said.

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