Iowa nurse involved in prison vaccine overdose is fired and fined $500

covid vaccine
Posted at 1:08 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 14:08:41-04

One of the nurses fired by the state for mistakenly giving prison inmates six times the normal dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has been fined $500 by the Iowa Board of Nursing.

Amanda Dodson of West Point, who began working for the Iowa Department of Corrections in 2003, was fired in May 2021 after she alerted her superiors to a mistake that resulted in 77 inmates of the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison being given six times the amount of COVID-19 vaccine they were supposed to receive.

According to state records, Dodson’s supervisor sent her an email on April 13 letting her know that the prison had received the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to the people incarcerated at the prison. Whalen asked Dodson and another nurse to administer the vaccine to some of the inmates.

The other nurse drew up the vaccine, which entailed putting the component parts together, drawing the medicine out of the vial into a syringe, and then handing the syringe to Dodson. Dodson took the filled syringe and administered the vaccine.

In total, the two administered the vaccine to 77 people, after which Dodson and the other nurse returned to the prison’s medical building. Dodson looked in the medical refrigerator to retrieve more of the vaccine to finish their assigned task. Seeing that no vaccine was left in the refrigerator, Dodson located a Pfizer vial, read the dosing information on it, and realized she and the other nurse had administered six times the recommended dose of the vaccine.

Dodson reported the incident to her supervisor, who placed Dodson on administrative leave. Prison officials acknowledged the incident and said none of the inmates had been hospitalized but were suffering from ailments typical of people who reported adverse reactions to the vaccine, such as body aches and low-grade fever. Dodson and the other nurse were fired.

The Iowa Board of Nursing reported recently that it has fined Dodson $500 and ordered her to undergo 14 hours of educational training on medication errors.

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

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