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Arrest in Wisconsin: Pharmacist destroyed hundreds of corona vaccine doses

The motive for the act is still in the dark

A former Wisconsin hospital pharmacy worker has been arrested for allegedly destroying around 570 doses of a coronavirus vaccine. Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect deliberately removed the vaccine from the refrigerator and left it overnight, the police in Grafton said.

57 doses had already been administered

The man was arrested for negligent endangering of safety, tampering with prescription drugs and property damage and is currently in a prison in Ozaukee, a county of Wisconsin. The pharmacist, whose name was not disclosed, admitted that he took the vaccine doses out of the refrigerator overnight on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day. He knew that the interruption of the cold chain made the substance unusable and that the people who had already been injected with it were not protected against Covid-19 infection.

57 doses of the ineffective vaccine were administered, which, according to the hospital, does not pose a direct risk to those affected. They have therefore reinsured themselves with the manufacturer “Moderna”. As the “New York Times” reports, the vaccinated are said to be mainly health workers. According to Dr. Jeff Bahr, President of the Aurora Health Care Medical Group, has already been located and notified.

The value of the destroyed vaccine doses is estimated at around 8,000 to 11,000 US dollars (the equivalent of around 6,500 to 9,000 euros). The motive for the act was initially unclear. The Grafton Police, the FBI and also the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) are investigating the incident.

Why did the break in the cold chain destroy the vaccine?

The mRNA biomolecules in the vaccine are extremely temperature sensitive. According to the manufacturer, the vaccine mRNA-1273 from Moderna is stable for 30 days at 2 – 6 degrees in the refrigerator, and for six months at minus 20 degrees. At room temperature, however, the vaccine is only stable for 12 hours.

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