Steven Brandenburg, left, reportedly destroyed Covid vaccines at a hospital in Grafton, Wisconsin, right, over fears they’d turn patients into mutants (Pictures: WISN/CBS58)
A hospital pharmacist accused of deliberately destroying around 500 doses of Moderna’s Covid vaccine has had his professional license suspended.
Steven Brandenburg, 46, was barred from his profession by the Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board on Wednesday, three weeks after he allegedly ruined 57 vials of the vaccine by leaving it out of a fridge for too long at Advocate Aurora Health hospital in Grafton, 20 miles north of Milwaukee.
Wednesday’s ruling bans Brandenburg from working again unless he is cleared of the charges he faces. The dad of two – who is said to be going through a nasty divorce – agreed to the suspension ‘in order to focus’ on charges he now faces.
Brandenburg is said to have told investigators that he is a conspiracy theorist, and that he deliberately tried to spoil the vaccine over fears it would mutate patients’ DNA. Moderna advises that its shot – named nRNA-1273 – becomes ineffective if left at room temperature for more than 12 hours.
Brandenburg is said to be a self-declared conspiracy theorist convinced the US government was planning power outages (Picture: Ozaukee County Jail)
The pharmacist was free on bail after a judge ordered investigators to find out whether the vaccine vials he had removed were definitely ruined. He is due back in court in the spring.
A total of 57 patients were given doses from those vials, with Moderna now working with hospital bosses to establish whether those shots offered any protection.
The speed at which Covid vaccines were developed has sparked conspiracy theories about their safety online.
American officials have so far approved Moderna and rival Pfizer’s shots for emergency use. Scientists say both are safe, and around 95% effective at preventing a serious Covid infection.
A third vaccine, from British manufacturer AstraZeneca, is being rolled out in the UK and will likely be approved in the US in April.
So far, all approved vaccines require two separate injections three to four weeks apart, with an upcoming injection from Johnson & Johnson likely to be the first single-dose vaccine.
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