Wisconsin pharmacist who intentionally destroyed more than 500 COVID vaccine doses is sentenced to three years in prison and admits he feels 'great shame'

 A Wisconsin pharmacist who purposefully ruined more than 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine told the court he felt 'great shame' for his actions before he was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday.

Steven Brandenburg, 46, admitted to intentionally spoiling hundreds of Moderna vaccines by removing them from a refrigerator for 12 hours at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, located just north of Milwaukee.  

He was sentenced on Tuesday after pleading guilty to two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products with reckless disregard in January. 

Brandenburg said he spoiled the doses because he believed the Moderna vaccine was not safe. 

He had claimed that the vaccine 'was unsafe for people and altered their DNA,' a criminal complaint said. 

In fact, the vaccines have been thoroughly tested by the Food and Drug Administration and found to be safe. 

Steven Brandenburg, 46, was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products with reckless disregard

Steven Brandenburg, 46, was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products with reckless disregard

Brandenburg admitted to intentionally spoiling hundreds of Moderna vaccines by removing them from a refrigerator for 12 hours at Aurora Medical Center (pictured) in Grafton

Brandenburg admitted to intentionally spoiling hundreds of Moderna vaccines by removing them from a refrigerator for 12 hours at Aurora Medical Center (pictured) in Grafton

In a statement before receiving his sentence, Brandenburg said he felt 'great shame' for his 'irrational' actions and owned up to his crimes, FOX 6 reported.   

'I am taking total responsibility for my actions, no matter how scattered my life was, he said. 'I did these two actions. It was not appropriate. It was not legal.'

Brandenburg added he is 'tormented by it daily.' 

He also apologized to his coworkers, families and their loved ones, saying Advocate Aurora healthcare is a 'pillar of the community.' He was fired by the medical center when his actions were discovered.


Aurora destroyed most of the tampered doses, but not before 57 people received inoculations from the supply. Those doses are believed to have still been effective, but weeks of uncertainty created a storm of anger, anxiety and anguish among the recipients, according to court documents.

Brandenburg also secretly substituted saline for flu vaccine that he was mandated to receive and persuaded several co-workers to secretly swap saline for their flu vaccine as well, according to court filings.

Prosecutors asked for a sentence of three years and five months. Brandenburg faced a maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment at $250,000 in fines for each felony count.

After completing his three year sentence, Brandenburg will face another three years of supervised release, NBC News reported. 

Brandenburg, an admitted conspiracy theorist, said he spoiled the doses because he believed the Moderna vaccine (pictured)  was not safe

Brandenburg, an admitted conspiracy theorist, said he spoiled the doses because he believed the Moderna vaccine (pictured)  was not safe

Brandenberg (pictured) told the court he felt 'great shame' for his actions before he was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday

Brandenberg (pictured) told the court he felt 'great shame' for his actions before he was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday

At the time of his arrest Brandenberg told police he was under pressure due to a 'contentious' divorce and lack of sleep from taking prescribed clonazepam. 

The 46-year-old is an admitted conspiracy theorist who was vocal about his beliefs at work, which included that he is a prophet and vaccines are a product of the devil. 

He also professed a belief that the Earth is flat and the 9/11 terrorist attacks were faked.  

A co-worker told investigators that Brandenburg carried a .45-caliber handgun to work 'in case the military came to take him away.'  

Brandenberg is prohibited from practicing at state pharmacies after the Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board suspended his license earlier this year, NBC News reported. 

Wisconsin pharmacist who intentionally destroyed more than 500 COVID vaccine doses is sentenced to three years in prison and admits he feels 'great shame' Wisconsin pharmacist who intentionally destroyed more than 500 COVID vaccine doses is sentenced to three years in prison and admits he feels 'great shame' Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 10:04 Rating: 5

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