Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Pharmacist accused of ruining hundreds of doses of Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine 'was a conspiracy theorist who feared the world was "crashing down" and believed the jab could mutate people's DNA'

 A Wisconsin pharmacist who is accused of intentionally destroying hundreds of doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine was a conspiracy theorist who feared the world was 'crashing down', court documents claim.  

Steven Brandenburg, 46, was arrested last week after the 57 spoiled Moderna vials were discovered at Advocate Aurora Health in Grafton, 20 miles north of Milwaukee, last week.  

Officials say the vials contained enough doses to inoculate more than 500 people. 

Charges are pending. 

Steven Brandenburg, 46, is accused of spoiling 57 vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which officials say contained enough doses to inoculate more than 500 people

Steven Brandenburg, 46, is accused of spoiling 57 vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which officials say contained enough doses to inoculate more than 500 people

Wisconsin pharmacist who destroyed vaccines appears in court
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'He'd formed this belief they were unsafe,' Ozaukee County district attorney Adam Gerol said during a virtual hearing.

He added that Mr Brandenburg was upset because he and his wife are divorcing, and an Aurora employee said Mr Brandenburg had taken a gun to work twice.

A detective wrote in a probable cause statement that Mr Brandenburg, 46, is an admitted conspiracy theorist and that he told investigators he intentionally tried to ruin the vaccine because it could hurt people by changing their DNA.

Experts have said there is no truth to the claims that the vaccines can genetically modify humans.

Mr Brandenburg's wife of eight years filed for divorce in June. The couple has two small children.

According to an affidavit his wife filed on December 30, the same day Mr Brandenburg was arrested in the vaccine tampering, he stopped off at her house on December 6 and dropped off a water purifier and two 30-day supplies of food, telling her that the world was 'crashing down' and she was in denial.

He said the government was planning cyberattacks and was going to shut down the power grid.

She added that he was storing food in bulk along with guns in rental units and she no longer felt safe around him.

The Moderna vaccine is viable for 12 hours outside refrigeration, so workers used the vaccine to inoculate 57 people before discarding the rest

The Moderna vaccine is viable for 12 hours outside refrigeration, so workers used the vaccine to inoculate 57 people before discarding the rest

Advocate Aurora Health Care chief medical group officer Jeff Bahr has said Mr Brandenburg admitted that he deliberately removed the vials from refrigeration at the Grafton medical centre overnight on December 24 into December 25, returned them, then left them out again on the night of December 25 into Saturday.

A pharmacy technician discovered the vials outside the refrigerator on December 26.

Mr Bahr said Mr Brandenburg initially said he had removed the vials to access other items in the refrigerator and had inadvertently failed to put them back.

He was arrested last week following an investigation into the 57 spoiled vials at Advocate Aurora Health in Grafton, Wisconsin

He was arrested last week following an investigation into the 57 spoiled vials at Advocate Aurora Health in Grafton, Wisconsin

The Moderna vaccine is viable for 12 hours outside refrigeration, so workers used the vaccine to inoculate 57 people before discarding the rest.

Mr Bahr said the doses people received on December 26 are all but useless. But Mr Gerol said during the hearing that the vials were actually retained and Moderna would need to test the doses to make sure they were ineffective before he can file charges.

Mr Brandenburg's attorney, Jason Baltz, did not speak on the merits of the case during the hearing. Mr Gerol held off on filing any charges, saying he still needs to determine whether Mr Brandenburg actually destroyed the doses.

Judge Paul Malloy ordered Mr Brandenburg to be released on a 10,000 dollar (£7,400) signature bond, surrender his firearms, not work in health care and have no contact with Aurora employees. 

A court commissioner on Monday found that Mr Brandenburg's children were in imminent danger and temporarily prohibited them from staying with him. 

He was arrested on suspicion of reckless endangerment, altering a prescription drug and criminal damage to property. 

Charges are still pending and the FBI and FDA are also investigating.

Advocate Aurora Health Care Chief Medical Group Officer Jeff Bahr has said the pharmacist admitted that he deliberately removed the vials from refrigeration at the Grafton medical center overnight on Christmas Eve. 

He then returned them on Christmas Day before leaving them out again that night, Bahr said.

A pharmacy technician discovered the vials outside the refrigerator on December 26. 


Bahr said the pharmacist initially said that he had removed the vials to access other items in the refrigerator and had inadvertently failed to put them back.

The pharmacist has since been fired.

The Moderna vaccine is viable for 12 hours outside refrigeration, so workers used the vaccine to inoculate 57 people before discarding the rest. 

Police said the discarded doses were worth between $8,000 and $11,000.

Brandenburg has since been fired from Advocate Aurora Health in Grafton, 20 miles north of Milwaukee, after the spoiled vials were discovered last week

Brandenburg has since been fired from Advocate Aurora Health in Grafton, 20 miles north of Milwaukee, after the spoiled vials were discovered last week

Bahr said the doses people received December 26 are all but useless.

Those who received the vaccine from the tampered vials have been notified and the company is working with Moderna and the FDA on a strategy to properly vaccinate those individuals.

Officials have said there should be no negative effects from receiving the vaccines that were rendered ineffective. 

'Moderna reassured us there are no safety concerns with administering a vaccine that has been out of the fridge too long. We will partner with them and the FDA to figure out a strategy on the future vaccination of the affected 57 individuals,' Bahr said. 

There is also 'no evidence' Brandenburg tampered with the vaccine in any other way other han removing it from the fridge, Bahr said. 

Prosecutors said during the hearing that Moderna will need to test the doses to make sure they're ineffective before he can proceed with any charges beyond destruction of property.

Brandenburg's bond was set at $10,000 on Monday and his next court appearance is scheduled for January 19. 

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