Pharmacist Who Spoiled Vaccine Said It Was 'Unsafe'

Police say Wisconsin man thought it would mutate DNA
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2021 4:07 PM CST
Pharmacist Who Ruined Vaccine Thought It Would 'Mutate DNA'
Steven Brandenburg.   (Ozaukee County Booking)

A Wisconsin pharmacist who was fired and arrested after allegedly deliberately spoiling hundreds of doses of coronavirus vaccine told police he thought they were unsafe, prosecutors said during a hearing Monday. Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol said Steven Brandenburg, 46, made a "full confession" to police after officials determined that 57 vials of Moderna vaccine, enough for around 500 people, had been deliberately left out of refrigeration, reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. In a probable cause statement, a detective said Brandenburg admitted being a conspiracy theorist and said he thought the vaccine could harm people by causing their DNA to mutate, the AP reports. Gerol said the pharmacist, who worked at the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, was stressed due to an ongoing divorce and child custody issues.

Gerold said Brandenburg had taken a gun to work twice, according to an Aurora employee. In an affidavit, Brandenburg's wife said he went to her house on Dec. 6 and dropped off two 30-day supplies of food, telling her the world was going to come "crashing down." Brandenburg could face felony charges including recklessly endangering safety and criminal damage to property, but he was released from jail Monday because investigators have yet to determine whether the vaccine was actually rendered ineffective. The DA said that if tests on the vials show that the vaccine still works, he won't be able to charge Brandenburg with anything except attempted damage to property, a misdemeanor. Judge Paul Molloy set bail at $10,000 and ordered Brandenburg to surrender his firearms and refrain from working in health care. (More coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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