The Wisconsin pharmacist accused of meddling with coronavirus vaccine doses told investigators that he believed the injections would alter the DNA of humans and harm them, according to a probable cause statement obtained by CBS affiliate WDJT-TV, CBS News reported.
There is no evidence that the vaccine will change any person's DNA, according to experts.
Steven Brandenburg, 46, is accused of intentionally removing 57 vials of the Moderna vaccine from a pharmacy refrigerator at the Aurora Medical Center and leaving them out overnight, police said. Each vial contains 10 doses, according to NBC News. Brandenberg was fired from Aurora Medical Center shortly after he allegedly admitted to intentionally tampering with the vaccine. He was arrested last week by Grafton police.
In his probable cause statement, Grafton police Detective Sgt. Eric Sutherland wrote that Brandenburg is an "admitted conspiracy theorist," and "told investigators that he believed that COVID-19 vaccine was not safe for people and could harm them and change their DNA. He admitted this was an intentional act," the probable cause statement added.
In a court appearance Monday, Brandenburg did not enter a plea but was read the charges he faces. Brandenberg was charged with recklessly endangering safety, adulterating a prescription drug and criminal damage to property.
Following Brandenburg’s admission, his former employer said it had been forced to throw out more than 500 doses of the vaccine because of the incident, estimating the cost to be between $8,000 and $11,000, CBS News reported. On Monday Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol said that the vials had been retained and would be tested by Moderna, according to the Associated Press. Gerol added that he planned to wait to see if the doses had actually been rendered ineffective before possibly amending the charges, CBS News reported.
Brandenburg was released from jail after posting $10,000 bond, according to records obtained by People.
Separately, the case comes as Houston Methodist Hospital announced that their 26,000 employees can earn extra money as long as they get the coronavirus vaccine, CBS News reported. Houston Methodist Hospital president and CEO, Dr. Marc Boom wrote to employees in an emailed last week that they can look forward to a $500 bonus as a "thank you for your perseverance throughout a difficult 2020,” CBS News reported. The criteria to receive the money includes getting a COVID-19 vaccination, "fulfilling our obligation as health care workers to lead the community," he wrote.