- A Wisconsin pharmacist deliberately removed vials of the Moderna vaccine from a refrigerator at the clinic.
- Steven Brandenburg then put them back to use the next day because he thought they were harmful.
- He was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday.
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The former Wisconsin pharmacist, who deliberately sabotaged 500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, was sentenced to 3 years in prison, the Department of Justice said in a press release.
Steven Brandenburg, a pharmacist at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wisconsin, was arrested Dec. 31 after an investigation revealed he removed 57 vials of the vaccine from a clinic refrigerator during two shifts overnight that month.
The Moderna vaccine must be kept refrigerated in order to remain effective; once removed, it should be used within a few hours.
Brandenburg then returned the vials in the refrigerator so they would be used the next day.
“The targeted attempt to destroy vaccine doses during a national public health crisis is a serious crime,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Department of Justice’s Civil Department. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with its police authorities to protect these life-saving vaccines.”
Brandenberg said he sabotaged the vaccine because he did not believe the coronavirus was genuine and believed the vaccine was harmful.
In February, he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to manipulate consumer products with ruthless disregard for the risk that another person would be at risk of death or bodily harm.
He will also have to pay $ 83,800 in restitution to the hospital, the Justice Department said.
WTMJ’s Tony Atkins reported that Brandenburg apologized during his hearing.
“I had no right to make that decision,” he said. “I feel terrible for what I have done. I am desperately sad and ashamed.”