A pharmacist in Wisconsin has signed a plea deal acknowledging he was guilty of trying to render hundreds of Covid-19 doses ineffective, according to the Department of Justice of the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
Steven Brandenburg removed 57 vials of the Moderna vaccine from cold storage on December 24 and 25, knowing that it would render them unusable, according to police statements. His actions destroyed all 57 vials; each vial contained 10 individual doses of the vaccine for a total of 570 doses.
"Brandenburg is charged by an Information with two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products, with reckless disregard for the risk that another person will be placed in danger of death or bodily injury. Brandenburg has agreed to plead guilty to the charges, which each carry a maximum sentence of ten years' imprisonment," read the news release from the Department of Justice.
United States Attorney Matthew D. Krueger said the charges show that the Justice Department will pursue anyone who tampers with the vaccine, and especially any medical professional.
"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," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton of the Department of Justice's Civil Division.
"The claims made in the Information are allegations that, if the case were to proceed to trial, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict the defendant. The plea agreement expresses the defendant's intention to plead guilty, but the defendant has not yet formally entered a plea in this matter," read the release.