Steven Brandenburg Biography — Wiki
Steven Brandenburg is a Wisconsin pharmacist who is allegedly accused of deliberately spoiling 57 vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by taking them out of a fridge and leaving them out overnight before 57 people were given the ‘ineffective’ dose. Grafton Police said the former employee of the Advocate Aurora Health Hospital in Grafton was arrested Thursday afternoon on charges of first degree recklessly endangering safety, adulterating a prescription drug, and criminal damage to property.
Steven Brandenburg Age
Steven Brandenburg is 46 years old.
Steven Brandenburg deliberately spoiled 57 vials of Moderna vaccine by taking them out of storage
The male healthcare worker has not officially been named. A roster of inmates at Ozaukee County Jail show that Steven Bandenburg was booked on Thursday on the same charges. Brandenburg is also listed as a licensed pharmacist in Wisconsin.
Police began investigating the incident at the hospital Wednesday but are yet to pin down a motive. The value of the spoiled vaccines is estimated to be around $8,000 to $11,000. Brandenburg’s arrest comes the same day Wisconsin health officials revealed that 57 people were given the ineffective dose of the vaccine after it had been spoiled.
Dr. Jeff Bahr, president of Aurora Health Care Medical Group in Wisconsin, said Thursday that the culprit had not only taken the vials out of refrigeration overnight Friday as first thought but had also done so Thursday night – returning them to the fridge the next morning before anyone noticed.
The net closed in on the suspect when a pharmacist technician discovered the vials out of the fridge Saturday morning.
What we know so far about Steven Brandenburg
Because hospital officials were unaware they had also been left out the night before, some of the doses were presumed to be fine and were given to 57 people before the remainder was discarded. Aurora Medical Center Grafton is now working with Moderna to determine how the affected individuals can now be vaccinated safely.
The medical center originally thought the doses ‘were inadvertently removed from a pharmacy refrigerator overnight,’ but on Wednesday said the culprit had acted ‘intentionally’ and fired him, while Grafton Police and the FBI launched an investigation.
Bahr gave a press conference via Zoom Thursday where he revealed the culprit was a pharmacist at the hospital and gave further details on the saga. He said a pharmacy technician first discovered 57 vials of the Moderna vaccine had been left outside the fridge in which they were being stored in the early hours of Saturday.
The technician returned the vials to the fridge and reported the incident to their superiors.
Bahr said the pharmacist responsible claimed at first they had simply made an ‘inadvertent error’ in leaving them out of the fridge when they were accessing other items in the same unit. The vaccine can be kept outside of a fridge for up to 12 hours before it becomes ineffective.
Based on the belief that the removal was accidental and that the vials had been out of the fridge for less than this time, clinical leaders at the hospital ‘determined that the vaccines were still able to be administered’ that morning.
A total of 57 people were given their first dose of the Moderna vaccine on the morning of December 26 at Aurora Medical Center Grafton.
But following an internal review, hospital staff grew ‘increasingly suspicious’ of the pharmacist’s behavior over the next few days, according to Bahr. He was suspended before finally admitting ‘after multiple interviews’ to ‘intentionally removing’ the vials from the fridge.
The pharmacist then also admitted that he had removed the vials from the fridge and left them out overnight Thursday but had returned them to the fridge Friday morning before anyone saw them. This meant the vials were actually ineffective or noneffective, Bahr said.
The hospital boss also said he is confident that no other vials other than the 57 had been spoiled because the hospital had not received any doses prior to the day in question. There is also ‘no evidence’ he tampered with the vaccine in any other way other than removing it from the fridge, Bahr said.
Police and federal authorities launched an investigation Wednesday after the Wisconsin health system said Steven Brandenburg had admitted to deliberately spoiling 500 doses of coronavirus vaccine. Aurora said it fired the employee and referred the matter to the authorities.
Police and federal authorities launched an investigation Wednesday.