We recently learned that the Wisconsin hospital worker who reportedly confessed to intentionally spoiling more than 500 doses of the COVID vaccine had been arrested and charged with a few low-level crimes. Now, as the investigation proceeds, we’re learning a bit more about the key player in this bizarre tale. First of all, his name is Steven Brandenburg. The 46-year-old isn’t just a “worker” at the hospital, either. He’s a pharmacist who works (or “worked,” past-tense, actually) for the Advocate Aurora Health system. Yesterday, he was ordered held on $10,000 bond.
But that’s not all. It turns out that this allegedly wasn’t some random act of violence against society. Brandenburg is being described as a “conspiracy theorist” who actually believed he was helping out the public by destroying the vaccines because he claimed the drugs are not safe. And they may be part of some dark government plot. (NBC News)
A pharmacist accused of trying to destroy hundreds of doses of coronavirus vaccine is allegedly a conspiracy theorist who believed the medication wasn’t safe, Wisconsin authorities said Monday…
Brandenburg is an “admitted conspiracy theorist” and he “told investigators that he believed that Covid-19 vaccine was not safe for people and could harm them and change their DNA,” Sutherland wrote.
“He admitted this was an intentional act,” the probable cause statement added.
We’ve seen any number of conspiracy theories arising around the COVID vaccines ever since the pharmaceutical companies began developing them. One of the early favorites was the idea that the vaccines would contain microchips that would allow the government to track everyone’s movements. (Why would that go to all that bother when they can simply use our phones?) That one proved so popular that Reuters felt compelled to publish a fact check saying the vaccines were microchip-free.
The court report doesn’t exactly specify which conspiracy theory about the vaccines Mr. Brandenburg is touting, but it’s probably not the microchip theory. He does mention in his admission of spoiling the vaccines that he believes the vaccines “could harm” patients and “change their DNA.” That sounds closer to a second conspiracy theory that’s been making the rounds for several months. It’s apparently based on the way the Moderna vaccine is created, using synthetic messenger RNA or mRNA, leading to claims that it will interact with and modify the DNA of patients who receive it. That one has also been repeatedly shot down and fact-checked by outlets including Newsweek.
For the record, the only “harm” that I’m aware of having been caused to patients from these vaccines has been the occasionally severe allergic reactions suffered by some patients. But we were told to expect that from the beginning for anyone with a propensity for serious anaphylactic shock issues. We’ve been told that additional testing on subjects with severe allergies is already underway so we should learn more about that later this year.
What’s really striking to me about this story thus far is the fact that Brandenburg turned out to be a pharmacist. When you think of people engaging in really “out there” conspiracy theories, you tend to picture people living in their mom’s basement and pouring through Reddit threads. This guy was not uneducated. To hold that job he had to have earned a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree, usually requiring four years of post-graduate work. Compounding matters, his specialty is literally in medicine. You could almost see how someone with a lengthy education in a totally unrelated field might fall down a few rabbit holes in an area where they have no direct education or experience. But Brandenburg is basically a doctor with a very specific specialty. And he obviously must work with doctors on a regular basis.
I’m not saying that everything the press labels a “conspiracy theory” is crazy or that everyone who subscribes to some fringe ideas is a wack job. I mean, I’m the “UFO guy” on this site, so who am I to talk, right? But I’m afraid that tracking nanochips in hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines is a bridge too far even for me.