Wisconsin pharmacist who intentionally damaged 570 vaccine doses sentenced to 3 years in prison

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An Advocate Aurora Health pharmacist who intentionally damaged 570 doses of COVID-19 vaccine was sentenced to three years in prison, according to NBC affiliate WTMJ of Milwaukee.

Steven Brandenburg worked at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wis., when he removed Moderna COVID-19 vaccine vials from refrigeration twice in December. He told investigators he believed the vaccine could harm patients or change their DNA. 

He was arrested Dec. 31 on charges of first-degree recklessly endangering society, adulterating a prescription drug and criminal damage to property. 

Fifty-seven people received the vaccines after they were left out, but they will likely experience no harm, according to officials with Aurora Health Care, based in both Milwaukee and Downers Grove, Ill.

After Aurora Health Care investigated the incident, Mr. Brandenburg was fired. He and the Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board agreed on his license suspension during a Jan. 13 meeting. 

Mr. Brandenburg on Jan. 26 agreed to plead guilty to two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products with reckless disregard.

On June 8, Mr. Brandenburg was sentenced to three years in prison. After serving his sentence, he will face another three years of supervised release.

Mr. Brandenburg told the court he was "desperately sorry and ashamed" about tampering with the vaccines. He also said Aurora Health Care is a "pillar of the community" and "did not deserve" the incident, according to WTMJ.

 

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