A pharmacist who tried to destroy nearly 500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at Aurora-Grafton Medical Center has been sentenced to federal prison. Stephen Brandenburg, 46, of Grafton, admitted to taking the vaccine vials out of the drugstore refrigerator twice late last year. A federal judge sentenced him to three years in prison on Tuesday morning. He must report by 2 p.m. Brandenburg will then be on federal probation for three years after his release. He apologized and said he was ashamed of his actions. Brandenburg told the court, “I am desperately sorry and ashamed of what I did to these people.” Federal prosecutors have recommended a 51
A pharmacist who tried to destroy nearly 500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at Aurora-Grafton Medical Center has been sentenced to federal prison.
Grafton’s 46-year-old Steven Brandenburg admitted that he twice removed the vaccine vials from a pharmacy refrigerator late last year.
A federal judge sentenced him to three years in prison on Tuesday morning.
He must report by 2 p.m.
Brandenburg will then be on federal probation for three years after his release.
He apologized and said he was ashamed of his actions.
Brandenburg told the court: “I am desperately sorry and ashamed of what I did to these people.”
Federal prosecutors recommended a 51-month sentence.
“The deliberate attempt to spoil vaccine doses during a public health emergency is a serious crime,” he said. Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton of the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to protect these life-saving vaccines.”
In February, Brandenburg pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to falsify a consumer product.
“Ensuring access to safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 is crucial to the well-being of all in our communities,” he said. lawyer Froling. “The Department of Justice is committed to working with its federal, state and local partners to hold those who seek to falsify these vaccines fully accountable. Today’s sentence was a direct result of this common commitment and the main hard work and collaboration. efforts of all those involved in the investigation and prosecution of Mr Brandenburg. “
Records show that Brandenburg took the same box of Moderna vaccines out of the fridge on Christmas Eve and Christmas.
“The FBI, along with our local law enforcement and private sector partners, is committed to complying with laws designed to protect our health care system from harm. By illegally falsifying these doses, Brandenburg threatens the health and safety of the entire community,” the FBI said. Agent Robert Hughes. “Today’s conviction sends a clear message to those who intentionally violate these laws that they will be vigorously persecuted.”
Prosecutors said Brandenburg told investigators he believed the vaccine was harmful and could alter a person’s DNA.
Brandenburg signed a plea agreement in January.
He faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $ 500,000 fine.
But he did not impose fines.
Instead, Brandenburg was ordered to pay $ 84,000 in restitution to Aurora Grafton.
About 60 victims had the opportunity to make statements about the impact of the conviction.
“It was absolutely devastating for our organization,” Grafton Hospital President Michelle Blakely told the court.
Aurora said 57 employees had been vaccinated with doses taken from Brandenburg from the refrigerator.
Modern told Aurora that the doses were still viable even though they were left out of the refrigerator.
“The act of sabotage with the intention of endangering my life shook me to the core,” a court official wrote in February.
“Stephen Brandenburg chose me to receive a stable and known as a safe vaccine,” wrote another employee.
“There is still no day to worry about the long-term consequences of the attack,” a third court official wrote.
Several associates said Brandenburg had brought weapons to the hospital with a removable briefcase and “created a constant, justified and constant fear about the risk of an active shooter event.”
Aurora’s lawyer said Brandenburg’s former colleagues lived in fear, so the hospital has drawn up a new and improved safety plan designed to protect them.
The lawyer also told the court that Brandenburg had falsified his own flu at the hospital by creating a fake label on a physiological syringe.
Court documents say Brandenburg believes the Earth is flat and a prophet.
Prosecutors said he also believed the 9/11 terrorist attacks were fake and the vaccines were “from the devil”.
Brandenburg told the court that he did not deal with any mental health problems.
A judge said that although his actions did not physically harm anyone, they played a role in the sentencing decision.
Brandenburg’s lawyer told the judge that he had recently gone through a divorce and was dealing with the stress associated with the pandemic when he took the doses of vaccines out of the hospital refrigerator.