Officials in Iowa are investigating after they say dozens of prison inmates were over-vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
The Iowa Department of Corrections said 77 people incarcerated at the Iowa State Penitentiary — a maximum-security prison in Fort Madison — were injected with doses of the Pfizer vaccine over the manufacturer’s recommended amount, ABC News reported.
The agency said it immediately contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pfizer to report the error and seek guidance for how to proceed, according to the outlet.
Both organizations said those who received the overdose should be closely monitored for at least two days, but serious side effects aren’t expected, ABC reported.
“The affected inmates have been notified and are being closely monitored by medical staff,” department of corrections spokesperson Cord Overton told The Des Moines Register. “At this time, the only side effects experienced by the inmates are those commonly associated with the Pfizer vaccine.”
Officials said they plan to do regular health check-ups for several days, according to KCRG.
Two nursing staff members have been placed on administrative leave, the outlet reported, and an investigation is underway.
Officials haven’t said how much extra vaccine each person received, though Kimberly Koehlhoeffer, 51, told the Register that her son was given an excessive dose at the prison and told by doctors he received “six times the recommended amount.”
She added that her son and others were experiencing symptoms including dehydration, nausea, lack of appetite and bruising at the injection site, according to the Register.
Dr. Anesa Afroze said typical side effects — such as body aches, fatigue and a sore arm — may be more severe for those who received excessive doses, KCCI reported.
“Those minor side effects that usually happen with vaccination could be a little more when you get a higher dose of a vaccine,” she told the outlet. “That’s kind of expected.”
Afroze said the best course of action is to stay calm.
“I think they should not panic,” she told KCCI. “We do not know what’s going to happen, but we have to follow the guidance that’s being given.”
Fort Madison is in southeast Iowa near the Illinois line.