Pharmacist Charged in COVID-19 Vaccine Case to Plead Guilty
A Wisconsin pharmacist accused of trying to spoil 57 vials of the Moderna CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine agreed to plead guilty in federal court and now faces 20 years in prison, according to the prosecutors.
Steven Brandenburg, 46, of Grafton, is charged with two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a $250,000 fine. Brandenburg was initially charged with attempted misdemeanor property damage but prosecutors warned more serious charges could follow if tests showed the doses were ruined.
He was arrested on Dec. 31 as part of an investigation into how dozens of vials of the vaccine were left outside a refrigerator. The vials contained enough dozes to vaccinate more than 500 people.
Authorities declined to comment beyond a press release announcing the charges. Brandenburg’s attorney declined to comment Tuesday to The Associated Press.
“Tampering with vaccine doses in the midst of a global health crisis calls for a strong response, as reflected by the serious charges the United States has brought today,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division said in a statement.
According to court documents, Brandenburg is an admitted conspiracy theorist who believed that the vaccines could mutate recipients’ DNA.
Johns Hopkins University, in a December news release, stated that some people may have to deal with side effects from the vaccine.
“Side effects may vary with the type of COVID-19 vaccine. We know the most about side effects following vaccination with the Pfizer and Moderna messenger RNA—or mRNA—vaccines,” the university said, adding: “Side effects include fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, joint pain, and possibly some fever.”
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