An Update to a Previous Blog Post and Some Creative Ways States Are Encouraging Vaccination

Anti-Vaccine Pharmacist Is Sentenced After Tampering With Vaccines

Back in January 2021, we told you about a Pharmacist in Wisconsin who tampered with Moderna vaccine vials to render the vaccines unusable. Today, The New York Times is reporting that the pharmacist has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty:

The pharmacist, Steven R. Brandenburg, 46, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay nearly $84,000 in restitution to the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wis., where he worked an overnight shift.

Mr. Brandenburg was “an admitted conspiracy theorist” who believed the vaccine could harm people and “change their DNA,” according to the police in Grafton, Wis. In January, he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to tamper with a consumer product in a way that could injure or kill someone, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

At the sentencing in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, Judge Brett H. Ludwig said he was handing down a lighter sentence because Mr. Brandenburg had no previous criminal record and had accepted responsibility for his actions and because no physical harm had come from the tampering, The Associated Press reported. At the sentencing, Mr. Brandenburg said he felt “great shame” for what he had done and apologized to his co-workers, his family and the people of Grafton, The A.P. reported.

“Wisconsin Pharmacist Who Tampered With Vaccine Gets 3-Year Sentence” The New York Times, June 8, 2021

West Virginia Vaccine Sweepstakes

In an effort to encourage people to get their COVID-19 vaccine, the state government in West Virginia is doing a sweepstakes for those who get the vaccine. According to The Inter-Mountain online:

The incentive to encourage residents to get vaccinated against the plague includes the chance to win money, trucks, get-aways in West Virginia, scholarships and hunting rifles and shotguns.

The first drawing is on June 20, Fathers’ Day and West Virginia’s birthday.

“On Fathers’ Day, we’ll make somebody in West Virginia a millionaire,” Gov. Jim Justice, whose pet English bulldog, Babydog, is the face of the promotion.

About 70,000 residents have so far registered for the Do it for Baby Dog: Save a life, Change a life sweepstakes. Drawings will be held through Aug. 14.

Anyone 12 and older who has received at least one shot of vaccine is eligible for the sweepstakes. Residents can register at doitforbabydog.wv.gov.

The purpose of the sweepstakes is to encourage residents to get vaccinated.

“We want all West Virginians to step up,” Justice said.

70k Register for vaccine sweepstakes. The inter-Mountain. June 9, 2021

Washington State Has A Special Incentive for vaccination

In Washington State, adults 21 and older could get a free marijuana joint if they go to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a state-approved dispensary. According to NPR:

“The program, launched by the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board and named “Joints for Jabs,” runs until July 12 and allows state-licensed dispensaries to give qualifying customers one pre-rolled joint at an in-store vaccination clinic.

Eligible participants must be 21 years old or older and have to have received their first or second dose during that visit.

This is only the latest among Washington’s abundant vaccination incentives, which include free tickets to sports events and a lottery totaling up to $1 million. Just a few weeks ago, the Liquor and Cannabis Board announced an incentive that allows breweries, wineries, and restaurants to offer free drinks to vaccinated adults.

Washington’s newest promotion reflects a multitude of unique vaccination incentives being offered across the country, and the state isn’t the first to offer weed.

In exchange for proof of vaccination, an Arizona dispensary’s “Snax for Vaxx” campaign provides free joints and edibles. In Washington, D.C., cannabis advocacy group D.C. Marijuana Justice distributed joints at vaccination sites on April 20.”

“HEY WASHINGTONIANS! GET A VACCINE. SMOKE A JOINT.” National Public Radio. June 9, 2021

Author: René F. Najera, DrPH

I am the editor of the History of Vaccines site, an online project by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. All opinions expressed on these blog posts are not necessarily those of the College or any of my employers. Check out my professional profile on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/renenajera Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen

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