ISP staff over doses COVID vaccine to inmates


FORT MADISON – According to reports in the Des Moines Register on Friday, 77 inmates at the Iowa State Penitentiary were given higher than normal doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday.

The copyrighted story quoted Cord Overton, a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Corrections as saying the inmates were not suffering any additional side effects from the extra vaccine.

An inmate notified family in Fairfield of the incident, and the family then contacted the Des Moines Register who picked up the story, along with other national news outlets.

The Pen City Current reached out to the DOC on Friday for comment, but no response was received.

Overton sent an email to the Register saying none of the inmates became ill enough to need outside medical attention.

“The large majority of inmates continue to have very minor symptoms consistent with those that receive the recommended dose of the vaccine,” he wrote in an email to the Des Moines Register. “These include sore arm, body aches, and one inmate has experienced a low-grade fever, which was treatable with Tylenol.”

Overton said early reports indicated the inmates were given up to six times the standard dose of the vaccine.

He said prison officials have consulted with experts at the University of Iowa, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pfizer, which manufactured the vaccine. He said the experts recommended the patients be monitored for at least 48 hours, but “they did not expect any inmates to have severe reactions.”

Iowa DOC officials are conducting an investigation and two nurses were put on leave pending the outcome of that investigation. Vaccines, as of Thursday, had been halted at the facility.

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