Wisconsin ex-pharmacist who ‘intentionally’ destroyed COVID-19 vaccines gets 3 years in prison

A former pharmacist who tampered with and destroyed COVID-19 vaccines at a Wisconsin hospital has been sentenced to three years in federal prison.

Steven Brandenburg, 46, was sentenced Tuesday after he ruined more than 500 doses in 60 vials of the Moderna vaccine at Advocate Aurora Hospital in Grafton, about 25 miles north of Milwaukee, in December 2020.

In a previous court appearance shortly after his arrest, prosecutors said Brandenburg intentionally left the vaccines out of refrigeration to make them inert and lead people to believe they had been vaccinated properly. Prosecutors added that Brandenburg admitted to being a conspiracy theorist who believed the vaccines were unsafe and change people’s DNA structures.

In January, Brandenburg agreed to plead guilty to two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products with reckless disregard. He had faced up to 10 years for each count.

“He was pretty cooperative and fully admitted what he’d done — and gave him a full confession that he’d done exactly this,” Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol said in January. “His intent was to destroy the medication.”

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