Brandenburg was arrested on December 31 for allegedly sabotaging more than 500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, stored at the Advocate Aurora Health Hospital, believing they were unsafe for humans.
There is no evidence to suggest the vaccine alters human DNA in any way. Many vaccines use altered forms of viruses to train the immune system to fight off the real-life pathogens but do not change or interact with a patient’s genome.
According to testimony from Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol, the 46-year-old gave “a full confession that he had done exactly this. His intent was to destroy the medication. He did the things that he was accused of.”
A pharmacy technician discovered 57 vials (each containing 10 doses of the vaccine) outside of the cold storage unit on December 26 with an estimated value of $11,000.
Brandenburg reportedly removed the vials containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from refrigerated storage with the intention of destroying them. Several of the latest coronavirus vaccines must be kept at very low temperatures in order to remain effective.
The Moderna vaccine must be stored between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit, for example.
To make matters worse, 57 of the compromised doses had already been distributed to patients by the time Brandenburg’s actions had been discovered, Aurora Health Care Medical Group President Dr. Jeff Bahr said.
Contrary to early reports, the compromised doses were sequestered by the hospital, not discarded, as further testing was needed to determine the extent of the damage and whether they were rendered completely useless or not.
The impending charges depend on the outcome of these tests, as more serious felony charges may be reduced to a criminal misdemeanor, depending on the status of the remaining vaccine doses.
In the interim, Brandenburg – who was fired from the hospital, ordered to surrender his firearms and barred from working as a pharmacist – has been released on a $10,000 signature bond, to await his next court date on January 19.
Furthermore, two official complaints alleging Brandenburg brought a firearm into the workplace are currently being investigated.
Court records from Brandenburg’s ongoing divorce show his wife corroborated law enforcement claims that he is an “admitted conspiracy theorist,” in a filing made on December 30 after she had learned of what he had allegedly done.
Gretchen Brandenburg also claims that her husband has rental units in which “bulk food and guns [are] being stored.” She told the judge her husband thought “the government is planning cyberattacks and plans to shut down the power grid.”