A former pharmacist in Wisconsin who deliberately wasted more than 500 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Steven Brandenburg, 46, of Grafton pleaded guilty in February to two felony counts of attempted tampering with a consumer product. He admitted that he deliberately removed supplements manufactured by Moderna from the refrigerator for hours at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, just north of Milwaukee.
In a statement before his sentencing, Brandenburg said he felt “great shame” and accepted responsibility for his actions. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that he apologized to his coworkers, family and community.
Aurora destroyed most of the doses that were tampered with, but 57 people did not receive vaccinations from the supply before that. Those doses are believed to still be effective, but weeks of uncertainty caused a storm of anger, anxiety and anguish among recipients, according to court documents.
Prosecutors sought a sentence of three years and five months. Brandenburg faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on $250,000 in fines for each felony.
Brandenburg secretly substituted saline for the flu vaccine she was mandated to receive and persuaded several coworkers to secretly swap saline for their flu vaccine, according to a court filing. .