A Wisconsin pharmacist admitted to ruining hundreds of doses of the coronavirus vaccine because he believes the shots would be harmful to people.
Forty-six year-old Steven Brandenburg, a hospital pharmacist with Advocate Aurora Health, was arrested in Grafton, about 20 miles north of Milwaukee after dozens of vials of the Moderna vaccine were removed from refrigeration. Officials say the 57 vials contained enough doses to inoculate more than 500 people.
During a virtual hearing on Monday, Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol said Brandenburg had “formed this belief that they were unsafe.”
In a probable cause statement, the pharmacist - who’s admitted to being a conspiracy theorist - told investigators he deliberately tried to destroy the vaccine because he thinks it could hurt people by changing their DNA.
Gerol claims Brandenburg was upset because he is going through a divorce adding that a fellow Aurora employee said on two occasions, he’d brought a gun to work.
Aurora Chief Medical Group Officer Jeff Bahr said Brandenburg admitted he intentionally removed the vials from refrigeration at Grafton medical center last week. The Moderna vaccine is still effective for 12 hours at room temperature. Some were able to be used to inoculate 57 people. The rest - valued between $8,000 and $11,000 - had to be discarded.
Brandenburg, who’s been released on a $10,000 signature bond, was required to surrender his firearms, not work in health care and avoid contact with Aurora employees.