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

By: - June 13, 2022 9:52 am

An Iowa nurse fired last year for mistakenly giving prison inmates six times the normal dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has been fined $500. (Parker Michels-Boyce/ For the Virginia Mercury)

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.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.