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Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is one of two that have been authorized for emergency use to fight the pandemic across the US.
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  • A pharmacist from Wisconsin who destroyed 57 vials of COVID-19 vaccine believed the virus was a hoax, court documents reveal.
  • Steven Brandenburg told colleagues the Earth was flat and that the sky was a government shield to stop humans seeing God, one of his coworkers told law enforcement.
  • Brandenburg also told officers that he was a conspiracy theorist, unsealed FBI documents show.
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A Wisconsin pharmacist who deliberately sabotaged 57 vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine told a colleague that the Earth is flat and that the sky is a “shield put up by the Government to prevent individuals from seeing God,” according to court documents.

Steven Brandenburg, who was a pharmacist at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wisconsin, was arrested on December 31 after an investigation by his employer found he intentionally removed vials of the Moderna vaccine from a clinic refrigerator where he worked. He pleaded guilty on January 26.

The unsealed FBI search warrant application filed on January 13, first reported by The Daily Beast, showed that Brandenburg doesn’t believe the virus is real. 

Brandenburg, 46, had previously said at his workplace that he thought the vaccine would hurt people, implant them with microchips, and cause infertility. 

Federal authorities found that Brandenburg’s conspiracy theories don’t just stop at the vaccine.

“Brandenburg was very engaged in conspiracy theories,” Sarah Sticker, who worked alongside Brandenburg at Aurora Medical Center pharmacy as a technician, told law enforcement. Sticker was the one to find the unrefrigerated doses of the Moderna vaccine at around 3 a.m. on December 26.

Other theories Brandenburg told Sticker were about the Earth being flat, that Judgement Day was coming, and that the sky was a “shield put up by the government to prevent individuals from seeing God,” court records show.

In an interview with law enforcement officers recorded in the court documents, Brandenburg said he had “an interest in conspiracy theories for the past seven years” and read lots of conspiracy theory books.

On December 30, Brandenburg admitted in an email to Advocate Aurora Health investigators that he intentionally removed the vials from the refrigerator. 

Read more: Top vaccine developers are upgrading COVID-19 shots as mutations threaten our progress in curbing the pandemic

“I did so with the purpose of allowing the vaccine to be outside the temperature range so that it would not be effective,” he said, adding that the vaccine “would be harmful to individuals that receive it” and could “alter the recipient’s DNA.”

Brandenburg, who no longer works at the hospital, was charged with a Class-A misdemeanor during a hearing on January 19, and he could be sentenced to up to nine months in prison, fined $10,000, or face both punishments, according to court filings.

He is due back in court on February 9.

Read the original article on Business Insider