CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming Department of Health official involved in the state’s response to the coronavirus questions the legitimacy of the pandemic and describes a forthcoming vaccine as a biological weapon.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports Igor Shepherd called COVID-19 a "so-called pandemic” at a Nov. 10 event in Loveland, Colorado. Shepherd described efforts to develop a vaccine as a plot by Russia and China to spread communism worldwide.

Shepherd was introduced as a Wyoming Department of Health employee before his presentation. Shepherd’s baseless and unsubstantiated claims undermine Wyoming’s efforts to contain the virus and plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

Gov. Mark Gordon and other top Wyoming officials declined to comment.

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