Coronavirus: Wisconsin medical worker arrested after deliberately spoiling 500 doses of vaccine

GRAFTON, Wis. — A medical worker who deliberately left out approximately 570 doses of a coronavirus vaccine so they would spoil has been arrested, police said Thursday.

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Aurora Medical Center first said Saturday the spoiled vaccines vials were accidentally left out overnight by an employee, the Journal Sentinel reported. However, on Wednesday, the Wisconsin health system said the employee was fired after admitting the act was intentional.

While workers were able to administer some of the vaccine, most of it had to be discarded. The vaccine cannot be refrozen after it thaws.

Update 4:59 pm. ET Dec. 31: Police in Wisconsin said they have arrested the fired hospital employee suspected of intentionally spoiling 500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, WITI-TV reported.

According to a news release from the Grafton Police Department, an investigation originally determined that the incident was accidental. However, a “deeper dive” revealed that a pharmacist with Aurora Health intentionally removed the vials. The former employee admitted to intentionally removing the vials, WITI reported.

Police said the employee was arrested on charges of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, a Class F felony; adulterating a prescription drug, a Class H felony; and criminal damage to property, a Class I felony, according to the news release.

The man. whose name has not been released, is currently being held in the Ozaukee County jail.

Original report: Authorities are investigating.

It is still unclear why the employee purposely left out the vaccine.

“We continue to believe that vaccination is our way out of the pandemic. We are more than disappointed that this individual’s actions will result in a delay of more than 500 people receiving their vaccine,” the statement said.

Aurora said it would offer more details Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.