Wisconsin pharmacist arrested for destroying vaccines is conspiracy theorist

Steven Brandenburg left over 500 doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine out of refrigeration to spoil them.

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The Wisconsin pharmacist arrested after being accused of trying to destroy hundreds of doses of the coronavirus vaccine has been outed as a conspiracy theorist who believed it wasn’t “safe.”

Steven Brandenburg, 46, reportedly left 57 vials of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine out of refrigeration at the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton with the intent of allowing them to spoil. Each vial contained 10 doses equally, more than 500 doses that were no longer viable. 

A doctor handles doses of Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine inside a cold storage room. A Wisconsin pharmacist reportedly left 57 vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine out of refrigeration with the intent of allowing them to spoil. (Photo by Omar Marques/Getty Images)

The pharmacist was arrested and admitted to his crime after being charged by Grafton Police detective Eric Sutherland. 

“He admitted this was an intentional act,” Sutherland’s probable cause statement noted.

Brandenburg is an “admitted conspiracy theorist,” and he “told investigators that he believed that Covid-19 vaccine was not safe for people and could harm them and change their DNA,” Sutherland wrote, according to NBC News. 

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Police said “Brandenburg admitted to doing this intentionally, knowing that it would diminish the effects of the vaccine,” The New York Times reported.

Criminal damage to property in excess of $1,500, suspicion of recklessly endangering safety, as well as adulterating a prescription drug are the charges that Brandenburg is facing. 

He did not have to enter a plea in his first court appearance, where his charges were read. The procedure was held virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

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Brandenburg was released on $10,000 bond and an order of protection from contact with his former employer.

His crime is the first case of intentional sabotage of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which is already struggling across an anxious nation. 

As of today, more than 4.6 million Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to an interactive report from The New York Times. 

States have been largely responsible for inoculating their citizens. 

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In Florida, seniors have been tasked with signing up for vaccines through Eventbrite, an effort that has been widely criticized. 

“There’s SO MUCH that is wrong with this. Including the fact that some of the most at-risk people don’t have access to computers or the internet,” Princeton professor Shamus Khan wrote on Twitter. “So they are basically totally f**ked with this process. Which doesn’t just put them at risk, it puts all of us at greater risk.”

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Local reports note that Brandenburg is dealing with a divorce from his wife, and he has been accused of twice bringing a gun to his pharmacy job. 

According to the same reportage, Brandenburg told his estranged spouse, with whom his has two young children, that he felt that the world was “falling down,” and he was hoarding food and supplies.

She was granted an order of protection from him at the end of December.

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