A PHARMACIST has been arrested after a hospital worker admitted to deliberately spoiling 57 vials of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine.
Police are yet to confirm if the licensed medic is the same man who sabotaged the life-changing doses – but prison records show Steven Brandenburg, 46, of Wisconsin was booked on drug tampering charges.
Steven Brandenburg, 46, was arrested for reckless endangerment, adulterating a prescription drug and criminal damage to property
Dr Jeff Bahr said there was no evidence being injected with the ineffective vaccine could be harmfulCredit: Aurora Health Care Medical Group
Brandenburg was arrested on three felonies – reckless endangerment, adulterating a prescription drug and criminal damage to property.
He is also a licensed pharmacist in the state of Wisconsin.
Grafton police confirmed that a pharmacist thought to be connected with the incident has been fired.
The pharmacist remains behind bars until further notice and his motives remain unknown.
Police said he deliberately removed the vials from the fridge – where they are kept at an optimum temperature – two nights in a row, rendering them ineffective.
His actions were discovered when another pharmacist noticed the vials had been taken out of the fridge – but not before 57 people had received the ineffective vaccine.
It wasn’t until the morning of Saturday, December 26, that the vials were found to be removed from the refrigerator.
According to Bahr, the unidentified pharmacist initially claimed the vials were moved to access something else, causing him to unintentionally leave them out.
However, he reportedly later admitted his actions were done intentionally.
Police said the Advocate Aurora Health pharmacist was arrested on three feloniesCredit: Aurora Medical Center
The pharmacist remains behind bars until further noticeCredit: Getty Images – Getty
The vials – which were ultimately disposed of due to the lack of refrigeration – were worth approximately $8,000 to $11,000.
The Moderna vaccine needs to be kept cold, however it is still usable for 12 hours without refrigeration, AP News reported.
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.”
Detectives believe the pharmacist was aware that his actions would make the vaccine injections ineffective, police said.
The pharmacist was working in the Grafton medical center and had put the vials back into refrigeration during the day to avoid being caught.
Detectives believe the pharmacist was aware that his actions would make the vaccine injections ineffective, police saidCredit: AP:Associated Press
A man receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from a nurse in FloridaCredit: AP:Associated Press
The vials contained enough doses of the Moderna vaccine to jab 570 peopleCredit: Reuters
A press released from the company stated that the FBI and FDA had been notified of the incidentCredit: Advocate Aurora Health
On Wednesday night, the Aurora Medical Center released a statement to respond to the frightening news
The company said: “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 company’s statement came days after an initial review said the incident was the result of an “unintended human error.”
Police in the area were immediately notified after the incident, however the Medical Center did not disclose any motive for the worker’s actions.
In addition to local police, the FBI and FDA were involved in the investigation.
The vaccines were intended for Aurora Medical Center health workers.
Meanwhile, Dr Anthony Fauci has warned that life won’t return to normal until fall of next year as a mutant strain of Covid-19 is set to sweep the United States.