Florida Paramedic Arrested for Possible Cover-Up of Stealing Moderna COVID Vaccines

A Florida paramedic was taken into police custody on Monday for his alleged involvement in stealing doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine.

Paramedic Joshua Colon forged the vaccine screening and consent forms to help cover up the theft, according to a Tuesday press release from the Polk County Sheriff's Office. The forms, along with a log of vaccine recipients, are intended to document who received the vaccine and when.

According to the police affidavit provide in the release, Colon was given three vials containing 10 doses each of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine and was directed to administer those vaccines to first responders at a fire station in Davenport on January 6.

At the end of the day on January 6, Colon was asked to report the total number of doses administered.

According to the affidavit, Colon said he administered 28 vaccines and two were waste, disposed of due to excess air exposure before administering. Colon later retracted his report and said he administered 27 vaccines and three were waste.

When Colon provided the vaccine screening and consent forms several days later, they didn't match up with the log of those who received the vaccine that day. Three doses were unaccounted for.

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A health care worker is shown above administering a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine on January 6, in Pompano Beach, Florida. A Florida paramedic was taken into police custody on Monday for his alleged involvement in stealing doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Colon resigned on Friday and on Monday was taken into police custody, where he was interviewed about the incident.

During the interview, Colon revealed that he forged three Florida Health COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Consent Forms to cover up the missing vaccines.

He added that two of the names on the falsified forms were existing firefighters and the third was a completely made-up name.

Colon then told officers that on the day of the incident, January 6, his supervisor joked about taking some vaccines for his mother. Colon added that he was told by the supervisor to report those vaccines as waste.

The supervisor allegedly ordered Colon to go to lunch later that day. According to Colon, when he returned from lunch, three vaccines were missing. Although he said he was immediately suspicious of the supervisor, he didn't report the incident to anyone at the fire rescue.

Instead, when Colon was asked for the documents for the missing vaccines he filed out the forms with fictitious information.

Colon was charged with four counts of forgery, uttering forged instrument, and falsifying medical records, two counts of creating fictional personal ID, and one count of official misconduct and criminal use of personal ID, according to the sheriff's office.

Colon was since been released after posting bond. The sheriff's office noted the investigation into the incident is ongoing, including the supervisor's possible involvement.

"The bottom line is, Joshua tried to cover for the captain," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said during a news conference on Tuesday.

"Joshua set up the circumstance for the vaccines to have been stolen," Judd continued. "Had Joshua simply gone to his boss right then, he'd have been the hero. Instead, he started falsifying paperwork, making up people who didn't exist to cover it up."

Carrie Horstman, a representative from the Polk County Sheriff's Office, emailed Newsweek its press release and links to its news conference regarding the incident on Tuesday.