00:50 GMT08 March 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A pharmacist in the US state of Wisconsin has pleaded guilty to charges that he successfully attempted to make hundreds of COVID-19 vaccine doses ineffective by deliberately removing the vials from a storage freezer, the Justice Department said in a press release.

    "While working as a hospital pharmacist in Grafton, Wisconsin, on two successive overnight shifts in late December, [Steven] Brandenburg purposefully removed a box of COVID-19 vaccine vials manufactured by Moderna - which must be stored at specific cold temperatures to remain viable - from the hospital’s refrigeration unit intending to render the vaccines inert and no longer effective," the release said on Tuesday.

    After leaving the vaccines out for several hours each night, Brandenburg returned the vaccines to the freezer to be used in the hospital’s vaccine clinic the following day. Before the full extent of Brandenburg’s conduct was discovered, 57 people had received doses of the dead vaccine contained within the vials, the release said.

    Brandenburg stated that he was skeptical that vaccines worked and in particular the Moderna vaccine - beliefs he has knowingly expressed to coworkers for the past two years, the release added.

    Brandenburg faces two charges of tampering with consumer products to threaten others with death or bodily injury. Each count carries a maximum sentence of ten years in jail, according to the release.

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    Tags:
    vaccine, coronavirus, COVID-19, US
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