A Wisconsin pharmacist who was convinced the world was “falling apart” told police he tried to ruin hundreds of doses of the coronavirus vaccine because he believed the injections would mutate people’s DNA, according to published court documents. Monday.
Police in Grafton, about 20 miles north of Milwaukee, arrested Advocate Aurora Health pharmacist Steven Brandenburg last week after an investigation into 57 spoiled vials of Moderna vaccine, which authorities said contained enough doses to inoculate more than 500 people. The charges are pending.
“A belief had been formed that they weren’t safe,” Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Girl said during a virtual hearing. The prosecutor added that Brandenburg was upset that he was in the middle of divorcing his wife, and an Aurora employee said Brandenburg had taken a gun to work twice.
A detective wrote in a probable cause statement that Brandenburg, 46, is an admitted conspiracy theorist and that he told investigators that he intentionally tried to screw up the vaccine because it could harm people by changing his DNA.
Misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines has risen in line with false claims circulating about everything from vaccine ingredients to potential side effects.
One of the first false claims suggested that vaccines could alter DNA. The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, as well as the Moderna vaccine, are based on messenger RNA or mRNA, which is a fairly new technology used in vaccines that experts have been working on for years.
The mRNA vaccines help train the immune system to identify the spike protein on the coronavirus surface and create an immune response. Experts have said that claims that vaccines can genetically modify humans are not true.
Jeff Bahr, director of the medical group for Advocate Aurora Health Care, has said that Brandenburg admitted that he deliberately removed the vials from the refrigerator at the Grafton Medical Center overnight from December 24 to 25, returned them, and then left them outside again on the night from December 25 to Saturday.
A pharmacy technician discovered the vials outside the refrigerator on December 26.
Brandenburg attorney Jason Baltz did not discuss the merits of the case during the hearing. Girl declined to press charges, saying he still needs to determine whether Brandenburg actually destroyed the doses.
Judge Paul Malloy ordered that Brandenburg be held on a signed bond of $10,000 on the condition that he surrender his firearms, does not work in healthcare, and does not have contact with Aurora employees.
Brandenburg is in the process of divorcing his wife of eight years. The couple have two young children.
According to an affidavit submitted by Brandenburg’s wife, he visited her on Dec. 6 and left her a water purifier and two 30-day supplies of food, and told her the world was “falling apart.”
He had also said that the government was planning cyberattacks and was going to shut down the power grid.
He added that he stored bulk food along with weapons in rental units and that he no longer felt safe around them.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism