Patients receive saline shots instead of COVID-19 vaccine doses in Sauk Centre

Some people in central Minnesota received shots of simple saline solution instead of the COVID-19 vaccine they expected.

While doctors say there are no health risks, the healthcare provider recognizes the mistake has caused plenty of disappointment.

Centra Care Health said it happened to a small number of patients at a vaccine clinic in Sauk Centre last Friday.

Luckily, Pharmacist Cory Middendorf says, a shot of saline isn’t harmful. MIddendorf said he has administered thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccines over the past couple of months with no issues.

At Goodrich Pharmacy in Anoka, he demonstrated how the Pfizer vaccine has to be mixed with saline before administration. The concoctions come in similar vials, he said.

"I think an easy way to avoid it is to get rid of the saline vile when you’re done with it, but if you have extras lying around, I could see where you get confused," he said.

It’s the second known mixing mishap in Minnesota as, just last month, 62 people received incorrectly diluted doses at a Hy-Vee in Mankato.

Just like in that instance, the patients in Sauk Centre will have to be re-vaccinated.

Centra Care said it is taking the steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

"Considering how many doses have been given in the state of Minnesota right now, and there’s two reported cases, I think that’s still pretty good said Middendorf.