A Milwaukee pharmacist was arrested Thursday and charged with “tampering and causing destruction” of more than 550 doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine last week, Grafton, Wisconsin, police confirmed.
In a statement, police officials said the now-fired pharmacist was arrested on recommended charges of recklessly endangering first-degree safety, falsifying a prescription drug and criminal damage to the property.
Officials did not disclose the identity of the individual “pending official notice of the charges,” but said in a written statement to public safety officials at Aurora Health, he admitted “to having withdrawn intentionally the vaccine knowing that if it was not stored properly, the vaccine would be ineffective. “
Moderna vials should be stored between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit. They can remain effective for up to 12 hours if left at room temperature. Beyond that, the drug is rendered useless.
As a result, health workers were forced to throw around 570 doses of the vaccine at the Aurora Medical Center where the pharmacist worked. However, some people received the medicine that was left out.
Grafton Police detectives reported that 57 patients received the injections.
The pharmacist told investigators he knew “people who received the vaccinations would think they had been vaccinated against the virus when in fact they were not,” officials said.
The value of damaged doses is estimated to be between $ 8,000 and $ 11,000.
The suspect is currently being held in the Ozaukee County Jail.