MILWAUKEE (AP) — A state board on Wednesday suspended the license of a Wisconsin pharmacist accused of ruining more than 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine because he thought it was unsafe.
Steven Brandenburg was working at Advocate Aurora Health in Grafton, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Milwaukee, when he was arrested last month following an investigation into the 57 spoiled vials of the Moderna vaccine. He has not been criminally charged. A status conference in the case is scheduled for Tuesday.
The Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board said in its order that Brandenburg cannot practice pharmacy while the suspension is in place. It said Brandenburg agreed to the action “in order to focus” on possible charges against him.
Brandenburg’s attorney, Jason Baltz, did not immediately respond to a phone message left Wednesday evening by The Associated Press.
Advocate Aurora Health Care Chief Medical Group Officer Jeff Bahr has said Brandenburg admitted that he deliberately removed the vials from refrigeration at the Grafton medical center.
A detective wrote in a probable cause statement that Brandenburg, 46, is an admitted conspiracy theorist and that he told investigators he intentionally tried to ruin the vaccine because it could hurt people by changing their DNA.
Misinformation around the COVID-19 vaccines has surged online with false claims circulating on the vaccines’ ingredients and possible side effects.
One of the earliest false claims suggested that the vaccines could alter DNA. The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine as well as the Moderna vaccine rely on messenger RNA or mRNA, which is a fairly new technology used in vaccines that experts have been working on for years. MRNA vaccines help train the immune system to identify the spike protein on the surface of the coronavirus and create an immune response. Experts have said there is no truth to the claims that the vaccines can genetically modify humans.
Today is Thursday, Jan. 14, the 14th day of 2021. There are 351 days left in the year.
Today’s highlight in history
On Jan. 14, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and French General Charles de Gaulle opened a wartime conference in Casablanca.
On this date
In 1784, the United States ratified the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War; Britain followed suit in April 1784.
In 1858, Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, and his wife, Empress Eugenie, escaped an assassination attempt led by Italian revolutionary Felice Orsini, who was later captured and executed.
In 1914, Ford Motor Co. greatly improved its assembly-line operation by employing an endless chain to pull each chassis along at its Highland Park, Michigan, plant.
In 1963, George C. Wallace was sworn in as governor of Alabama with the pledge, “Segregation forever!” — a view Wallace later repudiated.
In 1964, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, in a brief televised address, thanked Americans for their condolences and messages of support following the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, nearly two months earlier.
In 1968, the Green Bay Packers of the NFL defeated the AFL’s Oakland Raiders, 33-14, in the second AFL-NFL World Championship game (now referred to as Super Bowl II).
In 1972, the situation comedy “Sanford and Son,” starring Redd Foxx and Demond Wilson, premiered on NBC-TV.
In 1975, the House Internal Security Committee (formerly the House Un-American Activities Committee) was disbanded.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed an accord to stop aiming missiles at any nation; the leaders joined Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk in signing an accord to dismantle the nuclear arsenal of Ukraine.
In 2013, Lance Armstrong ended a decade of denial by confessing to Oprah Winfrey during a videotaped interview that he’d used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France.
Ten years ago
In an unprecedented popular uprising, Tunisian protesters enraged over soaring unemployment and corruption drove President Zine El Abdine Ben Ali from power after 23 years of iron-fisted rule.
A funeral was held for U.S. District Judge John Roll, who was among six people killed in the Tucson, Arizona, shooting rampage that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Five years ago
Attackers set off suicide bombs and exchanged gunfire outside a Starbucks cafe in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta in a brazen assault that left seven people dead.
Actor Alan Rickman, 69, died in London. Rene Angelil, 73, singer Celine Dion’s husband and manager, died at his suburban Las Vegas home.
One year ago
As House Democrats prepared to send articles of impeachment to the Senate for the trial of President Donald Trump, they released a trove of documents obtained from a close associate of Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, including a handwritten note that mentioned asking Ukraine’s president to investigate “the Biden case.”