On Tuesday, a federal judge sentenced a Wisconsin pharmacist who destroyed 500 doses of Covid-19 vaccine “during a public health emergency,” to three years in prison.
As early as January, Steven Brandenburg agreed to plead guilty to two counts of attempting to falsify consumer products with reckless disregard.
Theoretically, he could receive a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each census. But according to federal sentencing guidelines, Brandenburg was behind bars for up to 51 months.
After serving his 36-month sentence, Brandenburg will face another three years in custody. He was also ordered to pay $ 83,000 in restitution.
“The deliberate attempt to spoil the doses of the vaccine during a public health emergency is a serious crime,”
Brandenburg was fired from Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wisconsin, in December after the hospital said it had admitted to “deliberately taking the vaccine out of the refrigerator.”
Brandenburg told the court on Tuesday that he was “desperately sorry and ashamed” of what he had done, the NBC affiliate WTMJ said.
“I just want to end by saying that I am very ashamed and thank you, your honor, for allowing me to say that,” he said.
And U.S. District Court Judge Brett Ludwig apparently accepted the apology.
“I think your statements were sincere,” Ludwig said. “I wish you good luck in serving this sentence and progressing with your life.”
Brandenburg deliberately removed doses of Moderna from its refrigerator during two consecutive 24-hour shifts in December, prosecutors said, possibly making them ineffective because vaccine vials must be stored at certain temperatures.
Brandenburg then returned the vaccines to the refrigerator after realizing they had been left behind, resulting in 57 people injected with potentially spoiled inoculations, according to the Justice Department.
Grafton police said Brandenburg was a “recognized conspiracy theorist” who “told investigators he believed the Covid-19 vaccine was not safe for humans and could harm and alter their DNA.”
The Wisconsin Pharmacy Examination Board suspended Brandenburg’s license earlier this year, barring it from practicing in state pharmacies.