Story at a glance

  • Steven Brandenburg in January pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products with reckless disregard.
  • He was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday and three years of federal probation following his release.
  • Brandenburg told investigators at the time he tried to ruin the vaccine doses because he believed it could harm people by changing their DNA.

The former Wisconsin pharmacist who intentionally tried to spoil hundreds of COVID-19 doses late last year has been sentenced to three years in prison, according to local WTMJ

Steven Brandenburg in January pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products with reckless disregard, according to the Department of Justice


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Brandenburg was fired from the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wisc. in December after he admitted to intentionally removing more than 50 vials of Moderna vaccine from the hospital’s freezer for several hours on two consecutive nights. The move is estimated to have ruined more than 500 doses of the vaccine. 

The Moderna vaccine must be stored at cold temperatures in order to remain effective. Fifty-seven people received doses of the vaccine from the compromised batch before the hospital realized what occurred, according to the Department of Justice. 

Brandenburg told investigators at the time he tried to ruin the vaccine doses because he believed it could harm people by changing their DNA. Authorities called him an “admitted conspiracy theorist.” 

On top of his 36-month prison sentence, the ex-pharmacist will serve federal probation for three years after his release. 

He told the court Tuesday he was “desperately sorry and ashamed.” 


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Published on Jun 08, 2021