Wisconsin man accused of sabotaging COVID-19 vaccine charged

A former Aurora pharmacist is now charged in connection with the alleged sabotage of 500+ doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Steven Brandenburg, 46, appeared in Ozaukee County court on Tuesday, Jan. 19 -- now charged with attempted criminal damage to property, a misdemeanor.

Brandenburg is accused of intentionally removing hundreds of doses of the Moderna vaccine from refrigeration in December 2020 at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton. According to court filings, Brandenburg did this out of a belief they were unsafe -- and would alter a person's DNA.

Brandenburg and his attorney, Jason Baltz, arrived at the Ozaukee County Justice Center on Tuesday afternoon.

"We had the knowledge that there was still vaccine left to test. I think we were working off of an assumption that the vaccine issue, in this case, had been damaged. The best evidence at this point is that the vaccine remains viable," said Adam Gerol, Ozaukee County District Attorney.

Again, Brandenburg is charged with misdemeanor attempted criminal damage to property. But Gerol said the remaining vials are being sent to Moderna for further testing -- and charges could change.

Adam Gerol

"Would also advise the court that federal agencies continue to investigate this matter," Gerol said.

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A judge set a hearing for mid-March. Brandenburg remains out on bond. 

Aurora Medical Center in Grafton

Brandenburg was fired from Aurora early on in this investigation. Last week, the Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board voted unanimously to suspend Brandenburg's pharmacy license, pending the outcome of this case.