The pharmacist arrested for sabotaging 570 doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine believed in a bizarre range of conspiracy theories, investigators have found.
At least 57 frontline health care workers were given doses of the Moderna vaccine from the batch that Wisconsin hospital pharmacist Steven R Brandenburg deliberately removed from a refrigerator in order to spoil them.
During two overnight shifts – on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – Brandenburg left the doses out for several hours before returning them to the refrigerator.
The Moderna vaccine needs to be kept at low temperatures if it’s to be effective.
According to reports, Brandenburg believed that the vaccine would somehow "alter the DNA" of recipients.
But that’s not his only bizarre belief. Recently released FBI documents reveal that Brandenburg was convinced that the Earth was flat and that the sky was "not real".
According to Brandenburg, what we call the sky is in fact "a shield put up by the Government to prevent individuals from seeing God".
Brandenburg’s wife Gretchen, who is in the process of divorcing him, said that he believed the world was about to come "crashing down," and he had stockpiled food and weapons in a number of storage units around his home town of Grafton.
"He continued to say that the government is planning cyberattacks and plans to shut down the power grid," she said.
Gretchen Brandenburg became extremely concerned after her six-year-old daughter told her that her husband had said: "This is not our home; heaven is our home," leaving her afraid.
"I was so concerned about my safety and the safety of our children that I left town for a period of time," she said.
Co-workers told police that Brandenburg was in the habit of bringing a pistol to work "in case the military came to take him away".
Brandenburg was arrested on felony charges of reckless endangerment and property damage after the tampering came to light. He admitted the sabotage immediately, and prosecutor, Adam Gerol, told the New York Times that Brandenburg claimed that he was "under great stress because of marital problems".
The former hospital pharmacist has pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products with reckless disregard and faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 (£183,000) fine on each charge.
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