Grafton, Wisconsin police arrested a hospital employee Thursday for destroying over 500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
The employee, a pharmacist, first told his employers at the Aurora Medical Center that he left the vaccine out of the refrigerator by accident, but later admitted that he did so on purpose, according to NBC News. (RELATED: Wisconsin Hospital Worker Intentionally Spoiled 500 COVID-19 Vaccine Doses)
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is kept at negative four degrees Fahrenheit when shipped between healthcare facilities. After it arrives at a hospital or pharmacy, it is then thawed to 36 degrees Fahrenheit. The vaccine maintains its effectiveness at room temperature for only twelve hours, so it must be administered shortly after it is removed from refrigeration.
The spoiled vaccines were administered to 57 people before the hospital realized that they had been outside of the refrigerator for too long, reported CBS 58 Milwaukee. The defrosted vaccines are not harmful to the individuals who received them, although they will not be effective in stopping COVID-19.
The Grafton Police Department assessed the value of the damage at between eight and eleven thousand dollars, they announced in a press release. Police will be charging the suspect with recklessly endangering safety, adulterating a prescription drug, and criminal damage to property, all of which are felonies. The suspect is not being named until he is formally charged.