The letter ordered Dodson to turn in her state-issued uniform and badge before receiving her final paycheck May 21. State records show she had worked at the prison since at least 2004, starting as a radiological technologist before becoming a registered nurse in 2013. She earned $75,252 in 2020.
Dodson and Council 61 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a union representing prison staff, appealed her firing earlier this month. The appeal to the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board argues that Dodson was unjustly terminated, and asked that she be reinstated with back pay and “held blameless for this incident.”
Union spokesman Troy Price said the overdoses happened after the prison abruptly switched from using the Moderna vaccine to the Pfizer version. Pfizer packages its vaccines in vials that contain six doses apiece and must be diluted with saline solution before use. Moderna’s vaccine does not require dilution.
Price said the nurses were given 90 minutes notice and no training on the change in how the new vaccines were to be prepared and delivered before they were to begin administering shots.
“The Department of Corrections has an obligation to ensure proper training of its employees and they should have notified the nurses earlier and provided adequate training,” he said.
Department spokesman Cord Overton said the agency expects its nurses to be able to read and follow instructions for administering vaccines to those under their care. He said nurses also have an obligation to stop and seek clarification if they are unsure about procedures.