A man charged with sabotaging over 500 doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine said he had done it because he thought the vaccine “was not safe for people and could harm them and change their DNA.”
Self-confessed conspiracy theorist Stephen Brandenburg worked at the Aurora Medical Centre, a small private hospital in Wisconsin, USA.
But on New Year’s Eve he was arrested on suspicion of deliberately removing 57 vials of the Moderna vaccine, containing 570 doses in total.
The vaccine needs to be kept at a temperature between 2°C and 8°C prior to use. Brandenburg removed the vaccines from a fridge on Christmas Eve and they were not discovered until Christmas Day.
By leaving the vials out overnight he could potentially have put all 570 doses beyond use.
Brandenburg, 46, was fired from the medical centre immediately and arrested a week later.
During a Zoom hearing, Ozaukee County district attorney Adam Gerol told the court that it has not yet been confirmed whether the 570 doses sabotaged by Brandenburg are still usable
“The value of the drugs was somewhere between $8,000 (£5,894) and $12,000 (£8,841), but that, unfortunately all depends on whether they were in fact damaged or destroyed,” he said.
If the doses are still usable, Brandenburg could be charged with attempted criminal damage to property rather than the more serious reckless endangerment of safety charge he currently faces.
Mr Gerolf said that Brandenburg gave “a full confession that he had done exactly this. His intent was to destroy the medication. He did the things that he was accused of.”
He added that Brandenburg had been upset because he was going through a divorce. One of Brandenburg's co-workers told police he had brought a gun to work more than once.
Local police said some people had already received vaccine doses that had been sabotaged by Brandenburg — but it is not thought that any of those people were at medical risk.
Brandenburg’s belief in a vaccine that can somehow edit human DNA is completely without foundation. A statement from Gavi, the vaccine alliance, makes it clear that there is no known mechanism by which a vaccine can permanently alter a person’s DNA.
A judge set Brandenburg's bond at $10,000 and ordered him to have no contact with his former co-workers at the medical centre. He has also been ordered to hand in his firearms to the sheriff's office. A further hearing will take place on January 19.
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