Physicians’ group Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against Covid19 (HPAAC) recently warned the public against buying Covid19 vaccines that have been sprouting in the black market as they are illegal and may be counterfeit.
HPAAC’s Dr. Antonio Dans said that news of an illegal vaccine trade had recently come to light, coming up in online chat groups, workplaces and even neighborhoods in Metro Manila, begging the question: where do they come from?
Reports revealed that these vaccines go for as much as P1,000. It is still uncertain whether this is the cost for just a single dose or both.
The HPAAC, composed of over 160 health bodies, said that this was a full-blown “black market” or scam, as no vaccine has yet been registered with the country’s Food and Drug Administration for commercial distribution.
Only the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines have been given emergency use authorization. These vaccines can be distributed only by the national government.
In an online conference, doctors said that the safety and authenticity of illegally sold vaccines are not assured, and that the government loses “culpability” should adverse side effects occur.
Meanwhile, Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian remarked that there may be “an influx of unscrupulous individuals selling unregistered or, worse, fake vaccines” capitalizing on the arrival of Covid19 vaccines into the country.
“We call on all cybercrime agencies of the government to be on the lookout for illegal and unregistered Covid19 vaccines and pool their resources to apprehend opportunists who prey on the public,” he said in a statement.
The physician’s consortium urged the public to stick to the national government’s priority list, which places health workers, senior citizens and people with comorbidities at the top.
Another HPAAC member Dr. Aileen Espina also asked the public to keep an eye out for people who attempt to cut the line in order to receive the vaccine. The group said that the inoculation program must be done according to need, not the ability to pay.
Health undersecretary Rosario Vergeire echoed the HPAAC’s stance: “Nobody can jump the line because it is the national government that will give the authority if you can receive your doses already. We will inoculate first the priority sectors of the population.”