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Man sentenced to three years imprisonment for trying to spoil COVID-19 vaccine doses

The man has also been sentenced to three years of supervised release and must pay around $83,800 to a hospital.

Updated: June 8, 2021 - 6:01pm

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Steven R. Brandenburg has been sentenced to three years in prison after tampering with COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year while working at a hospital.

The man, who also must serve three years of supervised release and pay around $83,800 to the hospital, "pleaded guilty on Feb. 9, to two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products with reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of death or bodily injury," according to the Justice Department.

The DOJ said that according to court documents, the man on two nights in December 2020 took Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, that needs to be kept at low temperatures to stay viable, out of refrigeration.

"According to his plea agreement, Brandenburg stated that he was skeptical of vaccines in general, and the Moderna vaccine specifically, and had communicated his beliefs about vaccines to his co-workers," the DOJ said.

He admitted that after the vaccines had been out for hours on each of those nights, he then placed them back into refrigeration to be utilized in the hospital's vaccine clinic. Prior to the total extent of Brandenburg's behavior coming to light, 57 individuals were given vaccine doses from those vials.

"The purposeful attempt to spoil vaccine doses during a national public health emergency is a serious crime," Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division said.

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