Who is Steven Brandenburg? Pharmacist who 'intentionally' destroyed 500 doses of Moderna Covid vaccine charged
57 people had been given the ineffective shots before the damage to the Covid-19 vaccines was discovered
GRAFTON, WISCONSIN: A pharmacist who was taken into police custody for allegedly tampering with more than 500 doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine has been identified as Steven Brandenburg. Though police have not yet confirmed if Brandenburg is the same person who was arrested for spoiling the life-changing doses, prison records showed the 46-year-old has been pressed with drug tampering charges. The Sun reported that Brandenburg -- a licensed pharmacist in Wisconsin and who was working at the Advocate Aurora Health Hospital in Grafton -- was detained on three felonies - reckless endangerment, adulterating a prescription drug, and criminal damage to property.
Grafton police said that a pharmacist believed to be associated with sabotaging the medicines has been fired. He is going to stay behind bars until further notice while the reason behind carrying out the alleged crime is not yet known. To keep them safe and ineffective, the vials are kept in the fridge at an optimum temperature two nights in a row, but according to police, the accused knowingly took out the vials from it. Another pharmacist got to know about the suspect’s action when he saw vials had been removed from the fridge, but not before 57 people had received the ineffective shots.
The accused at first reportedly said that he took out the vials to access something else, but later confessed to his mistake. The doses were worth approximately $8,000 to $11,000, and which had to be thrown out because of the lack of refrigeration. Dr Jeff Bahr, president of Aurora Health Care Medical Group in Wisconsin, said, “The 57 [people] have been notified. There is no evidence that the vaccines posed any harm to them other than being potentially less effective or 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."
The Aurora Medical Center also released a statement on December 30 that stated: “Earlier this week, we learned that 57 vials of Moderna vaccine were removed from a pharmacy refrigerator at Aurora Medical Center - Grafton overnight, resulting in more than 500 doses of the vaccine being discarded. We immediately launched an internal review and were led to believe this was caused by inadvertent human error. The individual in question today acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration. We have notified appropriate authorities for further investigation. We continue to believe that vaccination is our way out of the pandemic. We are more than disappointed that this individual’s actions will result in a delay of more than 500 people receiving their vaccine. This was a violation of our core values, and the individual is no longer employed by us."
The December 30 statement came two days after the initial statement said, “Our internal review determined that as a result of unintended human error, the vials were not replaced in the refrigerator after temporarily being removed to access other items.” Reports said that along with local police, the FBI and FDA were also probing the case. It has been said the vaccines were meant for the health workers of Aurora Medical Center.