A Wisconsin pharmacist has been handed a prison term of three years for purposefully ruining more than 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
Steven Brandenburg, who was working for Aurora Medical Center in Graftonhad, had pleaded guilty in February to two felony counts of trying to destroy a consumer product. The 46-year-old former pharmacist admitted he intentionally removed the doses manufactured by Moderna.
Brandenburg did so by removing the vaccine doses from a refrigerator at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, near Milwaukee.
Loss, Anxiety and Uncertainty
The Moderna vaccine becomes ineffective if it is not kept at a specific temperature.
"Brandenburg acknowledged that after leaving the vaccines out for several hours each night, he returned the vaccines to the refrigerator to be used in the hospital's vaccine clinic the following day ... Before the full extent of Brandenburg's conduct was discovered, 57 people received doses of the vaccine from these vials," a press release from the US Justice Department said.
"Brandenburg apologized for the crime. "I did not have the right to make this decision," he said, adding that he felt terrible and was "desperately sorry and ashamed."
Brandenburg's action had resulted in losses, uncertainty and anxiety for the people who received the doses from the lot destroyed by him. Aurora destroyed most of the tampered doses, but some 57 people were administered with the vaccines.
Eventually it turned out that those doses were still safe but those who received the doses underwent anxiety and anguish.
"With safety always our top priority, we continue to move forward after the despicable actions of this individual. Since this incident, our successful vaccination program has continued with more than 700,000 doses administered to date," Aurora Health told CNN.
Skeptical of Vaccines
It has been established that Brandenburg was skeptical of the vaccines in general. Specifically he was a naysayer of the Moderna vaccine, an opinion he had previously shared with his colleagues.
The Channel News Asia reported that Brandenburg is an admitted conspiracy theorist. The report says he believes he is a 'prophet' and that vaccines are a product of the devil.