A Wisconsin pharmacist who pleaded guilty to deliberately destroying 500 Covid-19 vaccine doses was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday (June 8).
After he completes his 36-month sentence, he will also have another three years of supervised release.
Brandenburg admitted to removing the vaccine vials from a pharmacy refrigerator twice last year. He pleaded guilty in February on two counts of attempting to tamper with a consumer product.
Federal prosecutors recommended Brandenburg served a 51-month sentence. "The purposeful attempt to spoil vaccine doses during a national public health emergency is a serious crime," Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton of the Department of Justice's Civil Division said.
WISN reported that prosecutors said Brandenburg believed the vaccine was harmful and could change someone's DNA.
Aurora Medical Center-Grafton, where Brandenburg had worked, said 57 employees were given the vaccines he had taken out of the fridge.
One employee given the tampered vaccine wrote to the court, saying, "There is still not a day that goes by where I worry about the long-term effects of the assault."
Brandenburg was not fined for tampering with the vaccine doses. Instead, he had to pay $84,000 in restitution to Aurora Grafton.
WISN also reported that an attorney for Aurora said Brandenburg's former co-workers lived in fear at the hospital because he would bring guns in a rolling briefcase creating "fear around the risk of an active-shooter event."
The hospital's attorney also told the court that Brandenburg had faked his own flu shot by creating a false label on a saline syringe.
Brandenburg's attorney told the judge that when he took the vaccine doses out of the refrigerator, he had recently gone through a divorce and was dealing with pandemic-related stress.
Photo: Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office