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A Polk County Fire Rescue paramedic, who is also a training officer, and his supervisor, a Captain, have been arrested during an investigation into the theft of three doses of the Coronavirus vaccine, meant to be administered to other PCFR first responders.
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According to his affidavit, paramedic 31-year-old Joshua Colon, forged the vaccine screening and consent forms for missing vaccines that were supposed to be given to firefighters. Colon told detectives he was directed to do so by his supervisor.
Colon resigned on Friday, January 22, 2021, and was arrested on Monday, January 25, 2021. The investigation is ongoing.
The following is an excerpt from Colon's affidavit, and it is self-explanatory:
Polk County Fire Rescue has been directed to administer COVID-19 vaccines by Moderna to first responders. Each first responder needs to complete and sign a Florida Health COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Consent Form, which would be collected by the medical personnel administering the vaccine. Each vaccine recipient would also be added to a log, which contains the time the dose was given, the observation time, and any adverse reaction observed.
On January 6, 2021, Polk County Fire Rescue Paramedic & Training Officer Josh Colon received three vials containing 10 vaccines each, and was directed to administer those to first responders who responded to Station 38 in Davenport to obtain the vaccine.
At the completion of the day, Paramedic Colon was asked to report the total number of doses administered. Paramedic Colon reported he administered 28 vaccines and two were waste (disposed due to possible time of exposure prior to administering, which is normal). Paramedic Colon later retracted himself and advised he administered 27 vaccines and three were waste.
Days later, and after being requested the Florida Health COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Consent Forms several times, Paramedic Colon only provided 21 completed forms and the log; however, the log contained 23 vaccine recipients, therefore two Florida Health COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Consent Forms were missing.
The completed forms were compared to the log and two forms were noticed as missing, and one was noticed as missing a date of birth. When asked, Paramedic Colon advised he would obtain the information to complete the form. Paramedic Colon advised the names of three different people (two existing firefighters, and one name that was not attached to any PCFR person).
During the investigation, the two firefighters were contacted, both of whom stated they had not yet received the vaccine. The third name was not a person who existed.
On January 25, 2021, deputies met with Colon. During the interview with Colon, he advised the three Florida Health COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Consent Forms in question and the log were not completed on the day of the incident, and that he created those forms himself and signed them. He also advised he added the names to the log - two of the names were of existing firefighters, and one name was completely made up by him. He admitted they were fictitious.
Colon told deputies that on the day of the incident, his supervisor joked with him in reference to getting some vaccines for the supervisor's mother. Colon said he was told by the supervisor to report those vaccines as waste. According to Colon, he refused to provide those vaccines to the supervisor, at which time the supervisor said he would tell those higher up in the chain of command that Colon was selling vaccines outside of work.
Colon said that he was ordered to go on his lunch break later that day by the supervisor. The vaccines were left in a refrigerator with a label tab. When Colon returned to the station, he said he noticed the label tab was tampered with and three (3) vaccines were missing. Colon advised he did not question his supervisor in reference to the missing vaccines, however, he immediately became suspicious. Colon did not report this incident to anyone within Polk County Fire Rescue.
Colon told deputies that when he was later asked for the documents for accountability purposes, he completed the forms to show each vaccine was accounted for and that he created fictitious email addresses and phone numbers, and a fictitious name.
Colon was taken into custody on Monday, January 25, 2021, and charged with:
· 4 counts forgery (F3) $1,000 bond each
· 4 counts uttering forged instrument (F3) $1,000 bond each
· 4 counts falsifying medical records (M2) $250 bond each
· 1 count official misconduct (F3) $1,000 bond each
· 1 count criminal use of personal ID (F3) $1,000 bond each
· 2 counts creating fictional personal ID (F3) $1,000 bond each
He was released after posting bond.
Captain Anthony Damiano, Colon's supervisor, turned himself in at the Polk County Jail booking facility on January 27, 2021. He was charged with official misconduct (F3) ($1,000 bond) and petit theft (M2) ($250 bond), and was released after posting bond.