A pharmacist deliberately removed 57 vials of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine from a fridge and left them out overnight because he thought it would be "useless" to those who received them.

The male healthcare worker, who has not been named, was working at Advocate Aurora Health Hospital in Grafton, Massachusetts, where he allegedly removed vials of the Moderna Covid vaccine from a fridge.

He reportedly removed the vials intentionally on Christmas Eve to destroy their effectiveness and put them back on Christmas morning.

It is understood the man wanted to trick people who received them into thinking they had been properly vaccinated as he didn't think the vaccine would do anything.

Advocate Aurora Health Hospital in Grafton

At least 57 people received the vaccine from the tampered vials at the hospital on December 26 before a technician reported the man's actions to Aurora Health.

A review of the vials saw them thrown away and an investigation into how the vials were left out overnight began.

On Thursday, Jeff Bahr, president of Aurora Health Care Medical Group in Wisconsin, said the man had initially claimed he had made an "inadvertent" error but later admitted he had removed vials purposefully before anyone saw.

The medical centre fired then pharmacist when they realised he had allegedly acted "intentionally," it has been reported.

Medics have since notified those who received the vaccine from the tampered vials and the company is working with Moderna to re-vaccinate them.

The Moderna Covid vaccine

Aurora hospital informed the police and the town of Grafton and cops immediately arrested the pharmacist on Thursday December 31.

It is understood the man was arrested on charges of first degree recklessly endangering safety, adulterating a prescription drug, and criminal damage to property.

Steven Brandenburg, 46, a licensed pharmacist, was booked on Thursday 31 on the same charges.

The value of the spoiled vaccines is estimated to be around $8,000 (£5,850) to $11,000 (£8045).