THE Wisconsin pharmacist who removed 57 vials of Moderna's Covid jabs from a fridge allegedly destroyed them so people would believe they were vaccinated against the virus when they actually weren't.
In a press release, Grafton police accused Steven Brandenburg of deliberately removing the vials from the fridge on Christmas Eve because he knew they'd be "useless" to patients who received them.
The former Advocate Aurora Health Hospital employee "knew the spoiled vaccinations would be useless and that people who received the vaccinations would think they had been vaccinated against the virus when in fact they were not," Grafton cops said.
Brandenburg then replaced the vials back in the fridge on Christmas morning.
That day, a technician reported his actions after noticing that the medicines were removed – but not before 57 people had received the ineffective vaccine.
Shortly after cops pinned him as their suspect on Friday, the 46-year-old pharmacist was booked on drug tampering charges in Wisconsin and later admitted to intentionally destroying the vaccines.
Brandenburg was arrested for reckless endangerment, adulterating a prescription drug and criminal damage to property.
He is also a licensed pharmacist in the state of Wisconsin.
He remains behind bars until further notice as authorities investigate his motive, which is still unknown.
Although the male healthcare worker wasn't officially named, a roster of inmates at Ozakee County Jail show that Brandenburg was booked on Thursday under the same three felonies, according to WRKF.
The FBI and the FDA are also involved in the investigation.
The vaccines were intended for Aurora Medical Center health workers.
The Moderna vaccine needs to be kept cold, but it's still usable for 12 hours without refrigeration, AP News reported.
The vials – which were ultimately disposed of due to the lack of refrigeration – were worth approximately $8,000 to $11,000.
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."
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