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Wisconsin bill makes new crime for vaccine tampering

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FILE - In this March 2, 2021, file photo, Hollie Maloney, a pharmacy technician, loads a syringe with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine.(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Intentionally damaging vaccines would be a felony in Wisconsin under a bill with bipartisan support that the state Assembly is scheduled to approve Thursday.

The measure comes in response to a pharmacist in a Milwaukee suburb spoiling more than 500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in January 2021. He pleaded guilty to the federal charges and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Bill supporters say state law needs to be clarified because it doesn’t adequately address crimes related to tampering with vaccines and other medical products. The pharmacist who destroyed the vaccine dozes at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton was convicted of two federal charges of attempting to tamper with a consumer product.

The proposal before the Assembly would make it a Class I felony to intentionally make a vaccine unsafe, tainted, spoiled, ineffective, or otherwise unusable. That is punishable by up to 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The Senate passed the bill in June. If the Assembly passes it Thursday, it would then head to Gov. Tony Evers for his consideration.

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